Leading The Struggle For Equality..


Vision Of P.U.L.S.E: That every citizen of Miami-Dade would experience Justice , Hope, and Equality.

People United to Lead the Struggle for Equality, Inc. (P.U.L.S.E.) is a large nonprofit grassroots organization consisting of 35 civic groups and churches in Miami-Dade County. The P.U.L.S.E. Organization was formed as a result of the McDuffy riots in the early 1980’s, and the communities need for an organization that would establish and wield effectuating power to confront, hold accountable and negotiate with the “powers that be”. Community civic leaders and clergy wanted to create an organization that will empower the low to moderate citizens, addressed the concerns of working poor giving them an alternative to street rebellion. The group focuses locally on issues facing disenfranchised, voiceless black communities in Miami-Dade County.

For thirty-three years, P.U.L.S.E. has successfully organized minorities around common issues that affect their communities, and has maintained a strong organization that could successfully negotiate these issues with the powers-that-be through direct action nonviolent confrontation.

The general scope of our activities involves civil rights and opportunities for minorities. In order to empower ordinary people, P.U.L.S.E. has created area vice presidents whose job it is to identify the major problems ravaging their particular areas. Once they become aware of a problem, it is brought before the board of P.U.L.S.E. who assesses what role the organization should play in solving the problem. P.U.L.S.E. works to answer several questions when deciding how to respond to a neighborhoods problem. Is the issue far reaching? Is it a problem that has an impact on a large segment of the community? How many people are concerned about and willing to work on the issue? If these questions are answered satisfactorily, then the organization adopts the issue and throws its weight behind empowering the community to solve the problem. The areas within Miami-Dade County that have P.U.L.S.E. vice presidents are Brownsville, Carol City, Homestead/Goulds, Liberty City North, Liberty City South, Opa-Locka, Overtown, Richmond heights/Perrine, and Coconut Grove/South Miami.

P.U.L.S.E. has viably served the community and accomplish its goals of educating the public about the needs of low to moderate-income citizens. Its primary objectives are to empower and organize minority/low to moderate income citizens to address the issues that center around discrimination, fair share of jobs, youth issues, voter education and registration, and neighborhood improvements. Through our efforts, we also empower low to moderate-income citizens to hold accountable public and private institutions through non-violent direct action negotiations.

In its service to meet the needs of the low to moderate-income communities, P.U.L.S.E. successfully accomplished the following goals as it relates to fairness and equity for minorities. Please note that these are a few of our major accomplishments.

1. Organized a coalition of community organizations in order to establish a Civilian Investigative Panel in the City of Miami. As a result, P.U.L.S.E. Leadership played a vital role on the selection committee to select panel that will investigate police abuse and misconduct. In addition, P.U.L.S.E. continues to have representation serving on Miami-Dade County’s Independent Review Panel, which investigates all complaints made against County employees.

2. P.U.L.S.E. fought and won a decision by the Florida Supreme Court banning lawyers from using a peremptory challenge to exclude people from serving on juries because of race or gender.

3. Organized Black and other minority workers in the Miami Beach Department of Sanitation, Public Works and Park and Recreation to address their complaints of hostile work environments and other blatant discriminatory practices imposed by management.

4. P.U.L.S.E., in a collaborative effort with the Miami-Dade Housing Alliance (which consists of professionals within the housing industry), is conducting a series of educational seminars and workshops to promote and provide home ownership counseling, guidance and support to prospective minority homeowners within the low to moderate-income communities. This is an annual countywide initiative.

5. P.U.L.S.E. has won concessions from the private sector by contending that businesses operating in black communities should be responsible to those communities. It negotiated with First Union Bank of Florida and received a $100 million commitment from the bank to build affordable housing for the poor in Miami-Dade County. In March 1998, members of P.U.L.S.E. met with the president of Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines Ltd. to discuss a lawsuit brought by black employees against the company, complaining of racial discrimination and won the commitment to rectify those conditions.

6. P.U.L.S.E. targeted Allapattah Middle School because of horrendous conditions, including deteriorating side panels, a dirty kitchen area, and broken water coolers and sub-standard learning conditions. Roaches were found where food was prepared, feces were smeared on walls of the school, and it had deteriorating portable classrooms. P.U.L.S.E. was made aware of the horrendous conditions of the school by a homeowners’ association who asked for the group’s assistance. P.U.L.S.E. representatives visited the school and took the fight to the school board and the state capital and demanded that the conditions be rectified. As a result of the public awareness campaign, the school was transformed into a clean viable learning center.

7. A major issue P.U.L.S.E. has addressed throughout its 29 years has been police brutality. In fact, it has been the leader in the fight to eradicate police attacks against black people in the county. Our organization uses three methods to address police brutality. The first is an immediate reactive response to individual cases. When police have committed crimes against civilians, including the beating, shooting, or killing of an innocent person, P.U.L.S.E. has sought justice through various means. The response has usually been hiring lawyers to defend or bring charges against abusive officers, demanding meetings with police chiefs, mayors, other city officials, and meetings with the Justice Department, holding rallies and demonstrations. One result of these actions is they have given people an alternative to street rebellion. Many bad officers have been arrested and put off the force as a result of P.U.L.S.E. actions over the years.

8. P.U.L.S.E.’s effort to force cities to hire more black police officers is both an attempt to end racial discrimination in hiring a means of addressing police brutality. The justification for hiring black police officers is that those sharing a similar culture have a better understanding of the community and are less likely to be involved in violent confrontation. After receiving several complaints from black residents in the city of Hialeah over the city’s refusal to hire black police officers and firefighters, P.U.L.S.E. investigated, gathered information, and presented the complaints to the U.S. Justice Department after the police chief refused to hire any additional officers. He stated that the city of Hialeah is only 2% black and the force would only reflect that. P.U.L.S.E. found that even when the city hired blacks they were usually fired. Of the two hundred police officers the city employed, only five were black. The city’s racial discrimination practices could be traced back to 1959. The Justice Department sued the city of Hialeah and in 1998, Hialeah, whose population is 87 percent Hispanic, signed a consent decree agreeing to hire fifteen black police officers and fifteen black firefighters.

9. The fight for black political representation in Miami has been yet another major battle P.U.L.S.E. has led over the years. After the defeat of Reverend Richard Dunn by a Cuban candidate in the fall of 1996, there were no blacks on the city commission for the first time in thirty years. P.U.L.S.E. demanded that the city adopt single-member district voting for commission seats or it would file a lawsuit. Initially the city agreed to adopt a single member district plan and even appointed a “Blue Ribbon” panel to recommend new districts, but then Mayor Joe Carrollo backed out claiming that he could not support P.U.L.S.E.’s demand that Miami pay the organization’s legal cost in this battle.

P.U.L.S.E. was forced to follow through with its lawsuit after it had agreed to drop the demand for payment of its legal bills and the mayor did not respond. P.U.L.S.E. accused the mayor of stonewalling and sued the city. Despite Carollo’s request that the city be given a two-month period to respond to the suit, a U.S. District Judge ordered the mayor to allow his Blue Ribbon Panel to do its job and create single-member-voting districts. In the fall of 1997, a referendum was passed creating five districts assuring that at least one seat on the commission would go to a black person. The only at-large position was the seat for mayor, this was a major win for our organization.

The P.U.L.S.E. organization faced many challenges during 2009-2010. The following is a portion of the issues the organization worked on and won for our community in the struggle for justice and equality in Miami-Dade County.

a. The Miami’s Children Initiative: The P.U.L.S.E. organization has been working to help develop, coordinate and build a comprehensive network of community-based services for children and families to improve the health, wellness, education, living conditions and livelihoods of young people in the Liberty City area. With help from the Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners, the Florida Legislature and the Department of Children and Families, community leaders and residents began the planning process in March of 2009 and have developed a Strategic Plan that will implement the project over a ten year period. The project will be modeled after the nationally recognized Harlem Children’s Zone. Members of P.U.L.S.E. were able to go to New York along with other community leaders to tour the facilities and schools in Harlem and Orlando, Florida. We will be successful in this endeavor because the children and the community are counting on us. OUR CHILDREN’S INITIATIVE IS UP AND RUNNING !!

b. P.U.L.S.E. investigated the charges against Commissioner Michelle Spense-Jones; she was charged with Grand Theft. Prosecutors said she steered $50,000 in county grant money to a family business by using a forged letter with the signature of Barbara Carey Shuler. After investigating the facts of the case, we found the charge to be without merit and she will be found not guilty. The documents we uncovered shows (who) wrote the letter requesting the funds for the Jones family business and it was not written by Michelle-Spence Jones. P.U.L.S.E. was told not to investigate or try to find out the truth and just let the system run its course. We will not allow the system to run its course because that is what we allowed it to do with ex-commissioner Arthur Teele. The jury in the suspended City of Miami commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones bribery trial had come back with a not guilty verdict after only 90 minutes of deliberations.

c. Michelle Spence Jones was also indicted on a bribery charge of trying to sell her vote on a pending project to rename part of Southeast Second Avenue to “Brickell Avenue” a move that would help sell condo’s that developer Armando Codina was building. Our investigation revealed that this is another attempt by the State Attorney’s office to keep Commissioner Jones from getting her seat back and keeping her in a legal fight while millions of dollars are being diverted to other communities. The P.U.L.S.E. organization will continue to fight for the truth to be made known to the community. FOUND NOT GUILTY ON BOTH CHARGES !