Joheily Rodriguez is a junior majoring in Biological sciences with minor in chemistry at Florida International University. Passionate about art, medicine and connecting with new cultures and individuals. She is involved in numerous leadership opportunities like being able to be a resident assistant at the University level, and holding a leadership role in an organization known as students care. Students care provides help to the local community and connects college students to medical exposure.
Downtown as Text
“a stranger in a not so strange place” by Joheily Rodriguez of FIU at Downtown, Miami.
A conversation of community and belonging is happening in downtown Miami; however, the volume is relatively low. At the same time, walking through the streets of Miami and heard about those that were in this land; the Tequesta, the Bahamians, and slaves. I could not stop thinking of how I have walked these streets many times with friends and family and not once thought about the history and the sacrifice it took to the city to get where it is today; there was sadness, destruction, and bloodshed. Miami is known for its diversity, for its ability to thrive and be beautiful in the chaos. Chaotic, just like the sculpture “ Dropped Bowl with scattered slices and peels by Claes Oldenburg & Coosje van Bruggen, this sculpture describes the diversity of Miami; it showcases the falling of fruit, so chaotic yet so majestic to watch. However, I feel like this sculpture also conveys that some pieces of fruit tend to fall and catch dust and mold under the refrigerator.
These pieces that were hidden and left to deal with their own are communities that have been displaced, strangers in a place that is not so strange. Although the Tequesta have no known ancestors, Bahamians are well concentrated in the coconut grove. Many undernourished communities also pushed into Overtown, or how it used to be known, colored town. This community survived in its little niche, but following that, they were misplaced once more by building bridges and highways to allow the privilege to drive downtown Miami and escape from the hardships happening right under their noses.