Maria Bracamonte is a junior majoring in Business Administration in Finance at the Florida International University. She aspires to develop her expertise in the field to combat the scarcity of financial knowledge and advises others to make smart monetary decisions. However, her long-term career goal is to build a company that allows her to give back to the community and offer growth opportunities to minorities in this country. She values academic excellence, community services, and involvement. She has completed more than two hundred hours of services in her community and has participated in and led multiple organizations. She is an active member of the Phoenician Investment Fund, and she is also part of the Honors College Program at FIU. She is passionate about arts, with more than ten years of experience in performing arts: dance and theater. Likewise, she has great admiration for photography, cinema, music, literature, and painting.
Freedom Tower as Text
“A Home for Immigrants” by Maria Bracamonte of FIU at The Freedom Tower.
The United States has served as a host to more immigrants than other nations, and it has been shaped by immigration over the generations. Newcomers have driven essential U.S. transformations, impacting it in all aspects: demographically, culturally, socially, and politically. Since its beginnings, this country has received immigrants from all over the world. For many, it represents a place of opportunities and hopes to flourish and find the freedom they so desire. Florida, specifically Miami, has become the second home for thousands of people who come in search of the American dream, arriving here with almost no resources. However, Miami is a city that has become well known in the world for being a wonderful tourist location, by providing luxurious experiences to its visitors. Throughout the city, you can see incredible buildings that are considered architectural works of art. From imponent residences to deluxe offices and astonishing museums.
This modern city is always moving and developing, and so are its buildings. It hypnotizes its residents and visitors with magnificent skyscrapers. However, we often fail to remember and overlook those buildings where history took place, and that was there from the beginning of this amazing metropolis. One of the city’s most impressive monuments, and a landmark is the Freedom Tower. This imposing 17-story building was built in the mid-1920s and has been reinvented throughout its history. The construction of the Freedom Tower was inspired by the Giralda Tower in Spain, and it was designed by the architectural firm Schultze and Weaver. The cast iron decoration, wrought-iron balconies, and concrete cherubs reflect the Spanish style of the building. It represents the confidence of early commercial companies in the future of Miami during the boom years. It was a great achievement for the time since it has more square meters of space than any other building in the area.
This building turns into an exceptional and distinctive component of the Miami skyline. However, its importance goes beyond its architectural impact. As its façade is as inspiring as its historical impact. It began as the Miami News Tower, it was a printing facility for newspapers originally named the Miami Metropolis, the first newspaper of the city. Later, it was renamed the Freedom Tower as it served as a Cuban refugee emergency center, that aided Cubans who managed to escape the dictatorship of Castro. It was in this building where hundreds of Cubans naturalized as American and started their new lives as free citizens.
The Freedom Tower is one of Miami’s most respected and treasured buildings because it represents the liberty of the oppressed citizens who fled tyranny in seeking democracy and the American dream. It was the place where hundreds of Cuban refugees had their first contact with the United States. It was also a place where many immigrants could access many essential services to start their lives in the land of opportunities. Nowadays, the Freedom Tower is a fully operational cultural center. It was donated to Miami Dade College, and it is part of the main cultural programs of the College.
As I immigrant myself, I appreciate the significance of this historical event and the building in which it took place. The Freedom Tower represents hope for those that have not found liberty yet, but it also celebrates the courage and success of those who made it. As I walk by its wall, I can taste the excitement of those who were there. I look back and understand their pain to the left what they call home. I reflect and feel gratitude for being here. And I look forward to thriving and achieving the American Dream, as they did.
Hialeah as Text
“The woman who revolutionized sports” by Maria Bracamonte of FIU at Hialeah.
On Wednesday, September 21st, 2022, while I was walking through Overtown and Hialeah’s streets I learn about perseverance. According to the Cambridge Dictionary, perseverance is a “continued effort to do or achieve something, even when this is difficult or takes a long time.” In other words, it is our ability to not give up no matter how tough the situation we are in may be. It might sound uncomplicated, but only those who fought for what they believe in, realize the strengths it takes to make it that far. Perseverance has been an essential element to reaching success in more than one historic event. It continues to be that power that allows us to get to our full potential and inspire individuals around us. Therefore, it is terrifying to visualize how different our lives would be if those who fought against injustice and unfairness would have given up in their quest because of the struggles it involved.
The bravery and perseverance of Diane Crump are what inspired me the most during this trip. Crump was a jockey and horse trainer, who became the first woman to participate in horse racing in The United States of America. Even though females have pretty much always had access to physical activities in an enlightening and entertaining sense, it is not a secret that women did not have as many opportunities to engage in these activities as competitions as men could. Therefore, Diane’s participation in the event was so controversial that it required a full police escort through the unfriendly crowd at the Hialeah Park Racetrack. She had to deal with gender barriers, judgment, verbal aggression, and rudeness from male jockeys, who decided not to participate in the race because of her. On the day of the race, she faced many obstacles, but she persisted and competed.
Despite the race itself being seen as the main challenge for Diane Crump, being able to participate was in reality her accomplishment. She persisted in her dream of race as a professional horse jockey. She lost the race that day but “in a career spanning three decades, she rode 300 winners, and became the first woman to compete in the prestigious Kentucky Derby in 1970 – a race that only six women have taken part in since it was first to run in 1875” (McKenzie).
Diane Crump’s perseverance in her dream allow her to become a major changemaker and an influential individual for many women who were also struggling with their own dreams. In her own words, “No matter what you do, there are going to be a lot of challenges and obstacles. You are going to get hurt, at least in my sport. You are going to feel like you can’t accomplish what you want. So, you have to have that belief in yourself that you can do what is in your heart. To me, that’s it. The dream is in your heart. No matter if I was injured, how many broken bones, how much pain, how much resistance. I just never gave up” (NY Times).
Cambridge Dictionary. “Perseverance.” @CambridgeWords, 21 Sept. 2022, http://www.dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/english/perseverance.
“Jockeys Know the ‘Pick Yourself Up’ Mantra Well.” The New York Times, 2020, http://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/29/sports/horse-racing/diane-crump.html
McKenzie, Sheena. “Jockey Who Refused to Stay in the Kitchen.” CNN, CNN, 26 Sept. 2012, http://www.cnn.com/2012/09/26/sport/diane-crump-first-female-jockey/index.html.
Biscayne Bay/Chicken Key as Text
“Small Actions, Massive Impact” by Maria Bracamonte of FIU at Biscayne Bay/ Chicken Key.
Pollution in oceans, lakes, rivers, and other water bodies is a global crisis that has been overlooked. The accumulation of substances that do not belong to water masses is becoming more common every day. It results in changes in the composition of the water to such an extent that it affects the habitat of those who reside in it. Water Pollution is not only destroying the natural beauty of ecosystems, but it is also significantly affecting their biodiversity. Additionally, it has a major impact on our health, by contaminating the food chain, spreading disease, and due to lack of drinking water. According to the Lancet Commission on pollution and health “Diseases caused by pollution were responsible for an estimated 9 million premature deaths in 2015—16% of all deaths worldwide—three times more deaths than from AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria combined and 15 times more than from all wars and other forms of violence.” Therefore, it is our obligation to take action and restore the damage we created.
After reflecting on our expedition at Chicken Key, I realized that all the waste we found did not get there in an instant. On the contrary, it was the result of a sum of small negative actions that were constantly carried out by a large number of human beings. It made me understand how impactful tiny actions can be when done regularly, and I associated it with the Butterfly Effect. It refers to “the sensitive dependence on initial conditions in which a small change in one state of a deterministic nonlinear system can result in large differences in a later state.” In a sense that something that can be small and insignificant ended up causing huge damage. Considering the case of Edward Lorenz, who discovered the butterfly effect, just as the flapping of a butterfly’s wings can cause a tornado, just throwing a piece of plastic could end the existence of wildlife in their environment. It is also important to mention that other external factors could intervene in the creation of chaos, and we often do not consider them. For example, the substances found at Chicken Key may have not been deposited nearby the island, but they were probably dragged there by Hurricane Ian.
I do not doubt that when people throw out waste, they do not stop to think that such action can have huge consequences. This is one of the reasons why it is so relevant to raise awareness and be well-informed. However, being aware is not enough. It is also important to act. Just as small negative actions can have a big impact, small-scale positive behaviors done constantly can also be powerful and reverse the damage caused. Each and every one of us has the opportunity to contribute to achieving this goal by doing what is right and corresponds to us as inhabitants of the earth. If we do not take action now, both marine and non-marine ecosystems will continue to deteriorate, until it reaches a point where it would be very challenging to save them, and all living things involved will be affected. Therefore, we must act now.
“Butterfly Effect – Google Arts & Culture.” Google Arts & Culture, Google Arts & Culture, 2013, artsandculture.google.com/entity/butterfly-effect/m019qd?hl=en.
Landrigan, Philip J., et al. “The Lancet Commission on Pollution and Health.” The Lancet, vol. 391, no. 10119, Feb. 2018, pp. 462–512, https://doi.org/10.1016/s0140-6736(17)32345-0.
Vizcaya Museum and Gardens as a Text
“Miami as a house” by Maria Bracamonte of FIU at Vizcaya Museum and Gardens.
Vizcaya Museum and Gardens is a magical place that allow you to travel space and time. As soon as you enter its facilities, you are surrounded in a forest that seems enchanted, and in which you feel the disconnection from the overwhelming city that Miami can be. However, and even though it may seem otherwise, Vizcaya Museum and Gardens from its beginnings indicated the destiny and expansion of this metropolis. It is a place that is wrapped in culture, travel, arts, knowledge, interactions of races, and social classes in each of its corners, just as Miami is. This building, which used to be the home of James Deering and is now a museum, is not lacking in extravagance and detail in any of its rooms and spaces, highlighting what life was like for those with unlimited purchasing power.
Even though it follows a perception very much of the era in which it was built, ironically it also represents how Miami is perceived today due to the great variety of historical elements with significant worldwide importance. As soon as you walk through the metal and glass doors that were not originally there, you are dazzled with a taste of what the entire house will be like. It features a sculpture depicting the pleasures of life and enjoyment, which tend to be elements that describe Miami very well.
Among the astonishing architecture and art that gives life to this old home, the museum also has abundant nature, which resembles how fresh and full of life this city is. Also, we can observe the different use of neoclassical art in the entrance, Rococo in the reception, and Mudejar art in the hall. And just as in Miami you can find elements and people from all over the world, this impressive residence was created and decorated with components collected from different parts of the globe. On the other hand, in different corners and details of the house, we can observe the representation of elements that are not easily captured by the human eye without the proper knowledge, such as the balcony of the lovers or the garden in which social classes were not distinguished.
All these diverse aspects illustrate important themes, one of the most striking for me was the false appearances. In the library of the mansion, we found a door with fake books, which in my opinion today may symbolize how in Miami it is more important how you project yourself in society than what you are. Certainly, it is a hypocritical society that considers the exterior and the amount of money you have. Another characteristic that abounds in these spaces is arrogance and greed, which is shown in stained glass windows with the words “JA’I DIT” which translates to I have been but also symbolizes the initials of the owner of the house, as well as the need to have the most advanced technology of the time such as an antique telephone. Despite these not-so-friendly elements, this place has been of such influence that it has given rise to historical moments such as important meetings between President Ronald Reagan and Pope John Paul II, and more importantly it does not fail to provide peace when you walk around.
South Beach as Text
“Courage can also be feminine” by Maria Bracamonte of FIU at South Beach.
It took one person’s vision and initiative to change the future of many. That person was Barbara Baer Capitman. Nowadays, South Beach is a worldwide known tourist area of remarkable significance. It is characterized by its infrastructures of great architectural value and its beaches that attract millions of visitors and onlookers every year. Its relevance comes to the extent that it has attracted celebrities who have made it their home. In addition, it is home to the largest concentration of preserved Art Deco buildings in the world. However, without the efforts of Barbara Baer Capitman, this renowned zone that is immersed in the tourist industry, would not look the same way it does now. On the contrary, condominiums, hotels, and luxury residences would have replaced its stunning architecture.
Barbara Baer Capitman was a writer, artist, and preservationist, who was an influential element in the conservation of South Beach’s Art Deco District. Popular buildings from the 1920s and 1930s that implement an elegant but not minimalist style are found in this distinctive neighborhood. Their intention was to create buildings that innovate with unique styles that would represent the Age of machines. It also featured natural elements, Mesopotamian and Mesoamerican designs, and linear bas-relief decorative designs. Capitman understood how important was to conserve the Art Deco treasure before anyone else. Despite not being a native of Miami, her passion for art and the need to protect the neighborhood, in which mostly Jewish retirees resided and for which she had great appreciation, were keys to achieving her goals and of significant impact in this area.
Likewise, she founded the Miami Design Preservation League (MDPL) which was integrated by other individuals who shared her passion and believed in her vision. The creation of this league was the first step of many that allow millions of people to continue to admire this neighborhood, otherwise, it would only be a memory of those who once lived in these streets. Miami Design Preservation League and its members fought to save Miami Beach’s Art Deco buildings, which were already in a pretty run-down state at the time. Capitman fought to the end of her days for what she believed was right. She clashed with politicians and developers to ensure these infrastructures were not destroyed. And even though many were demolished, the cause was not lost since many buildings are still standing and continue to perseverate.
By learning about Barbara Baer Capitman’s legacy, I admired the courage of influential women who fought against injustices, and whose actions were essential to the development of Miami as the city we know today. It is inspiring how, despite having to confront criticism and social obstacles, they always remained true to themselves, and managed to contribute with the help of many others to the causes that they considered required attention. On the other hand, it is unfortunate how the stories of these heroines are not as well-known and lack relevance to the masses, which can be seen in how the statue of Barbara Baer Capitman looks a bit rusty and poorly maintained. Regardless, they continue to be an inspiration for the younger generation of how taking action now can impact the future of many.
Deering Estate as Text
“Identity” by Maria Bracamonte of FIU at Deering Estate.
Discovering ourselves is a task all human beings have had to endure at some point in their lives. The concept we have about the exceptional set of characteristics that can be used to identify ourselves as an individual and distinguish us from anyone else is constantly growing and evolving. Many believe our culture, history, philosophies, and principles, even nationality, represent a significant extent of who we are. These components are what we are made of. They describe us, make us unique and they are what we identify ourselves with. And until not long ago, I believed it was true too. With the development of civilization and the evolution of history, human beings have been divided and classified by race, borders, social classes, beliefs, and thoughts, among others. However, what we think makes us different from the rest, is exactly what unites us.
During our expedition at the Deering Estate, I discovered that our connection with each other and between cultures is stronger than I ever thought. We tend to proudly encapsulate the diverse ways of life according to entire civilizations, including their arts, beliefs, and knowledge, along with others and we ensure to pass them down from generation to generation to guarantee their preservation. But we are so focused on distinguishing ourselves from each other that we forget that we are all connected. As we tour the Deering Estate’s facilities, it is almost impossible not to admire its particular buildings. From the eye-catching Artists-In-Residence Studios and the picturesque cabins with classic American style to the Stone House, which was the one that put my beliefs of identity between cultures into perspective.
The Stone House is a three-story structure made of poured concrete and limestone walls. It was constructed based on the design of Charles Deering’s house in Spain by the architect Phineas Paist for Charles Deering himself, who was an art collector, preservationist, philanthropist, businessman, and original owner of the Deering Estate. This building has endless architectural elements of immense value and stories that dazzle its spectators. Some of these elements include French doors, balconies, an extensive collection of art, and an Otis elevator, which was an innovation for the year 1922 in which the house was built. Likewise, there was a Prohibition Era wine cellar, in which Deering kept a large secret collection of liquors.
However, what caught my attention the most was the fact that this construction has elements from the Middle Eastern Countries that were adapted by Spaniards and then added to this structure accordingly. The facade of this house has great similarities with classic facades of said countries’ constructions and resembles old buildings designed in the stated region. Thus, creating a ripple effect of influence from one culture to another. This puts into perspective the purity of cultures and leads us to realize that by learning from others around us, we can understand ourselves better.
Understanding our origins and learning about those who walked the earth before us also impact how we perceive ourselves. During this adventure, I had the opportunity to visit lands that not many have access to nowadays, but that were once the home of those who first arrived there. I get to reconnect with nature and explore multiple ecosystems that expanded my knowledge of those who lived before me. This made us conclude that our connection with others affects our own identity, as external factors became a modifier of who we are.
Rubell Museum as Text
“Shift of Perspective” by Maria Bracamonte of FIU at Rubell Museum.
Rubell Museum was the first contact I ever had with contemporary art. From its entrance, you can notice that this place is not like any other museum. It is as peculiar and fascinating as the art exhibitions that are found there, such as the Yayoi Kusama rooms. As we enter this building we were advised to not even stop to consider if what is in front of us is art. That simple but effective sentence shifted my perspective on art, and positively impact my whole experience there. I was so used to admiring complex paintings on canvas and sculptures full of details that clearly show the talent and effort that the artist put into it, but I forgot that art is about how it makes you feel and how it can stimulate your life in many different ways. Fortunately, my time in the Rubell Museum remind me that art can change how you perceive what is around you, and it certainly makes you reflect on your own experiences based on someone else’s stories – the artists’ stories.
I attempted to see this situation from a point of view outside my own, and I put myself in those artists’ shoes. I went over and over the idea of how artists sometimes struggle to be understood, but I was also fascinated to realize that each viewer had their own interpretation of their artwork. I discovered that each one of us is moved by the same piece of art but in a different sense. I also reflected on my own struggle to make people realize that dance is a form of expression. I am not a professional dancer, and even though it has been a while since I step on stage, I still feel alive when I move to the rhythm of the music. However, it was not until I met Mera Rubell that I understood that it takes a lot to pursue what makes you feel alive.
Don and Mera Rubell, who started by showing artwork in their apartment and now own more than 50,000 pieces of artwork, followed their passion for collecting art and impacted thousands of lives in their journey. Meeting her and learning about her and her husband’s story made me feel inspired by their courage. They started knowing nothing about the art collecting world but took the risk and did it regardless. However, what makes it more significant is the fact that they never consider the monetary value of art when acquiring it, instead, they focus on how meaningful the piece was for them. They managed to successfully avoid being consumed by the greed of the business and remained faithful to what let them get to where they are now, their passion for art.
They are live changers. By pursuing their passion, they have provided a multitude of artists with a space for their voices to be heard, and their art to be seen. They also recognize the struggle of artists to be noticed and understood, so they changed the lives of artists since the beginning of their careers by supporting and acquiring their art, and they continue to do so. Likewise, they significantly impact the lives of visitors that walk the corridors of its museums and have the opportunities to observe all the artwork they have collected, as they did to me. From that experience, I learned that sometimes you need to shift your perspective to see beyond what is in front of you and you need to be brave enough to chase what gives purpose to your life.
Miami Art Week as Text
“Finding My Own Voice” by Maria Bracamonte of FIU at Untitled Art.
Art has the power to influence people’s perspectives. It can move our souls, expand our knowledge, and shift our understanding of the world. Most importantly it serves as the bridge that allows the artist and its spectators to create a bond, so perspectives can be exchanged. Therefore, the artworks that make you feel and reflect are the ones that can deeply impact your life. Kates-Ferri Projects resonates with this concept. During Miami Art Week I had the opportunity to attempt Untitled Art, in which I was introduced to the HIS(HER)TORY exhibition produced by the Kates-Ferri Projects featuring C.J. Chueca, Turiya Magadlela, and Dana Robinson.
Natalie Kates explained that HIS(HER)TORY was carefully designed to convey the idea of female inclusion to the world. It also represents the obstacles and struggles women have to deal with to successfully achieve that inclusion while touching on relevant social matters such as gender inequities, underrepresentation, and obsolete gender roles. In this exhibition, they presented three pieces: “We Are Night And Day” by C.J. Chueca, “Ebony Reprinted Series” by Dana Robinson, and “Theta Tati – Talk to me Father” by Turiya Magadlela.
These pieces of art are quite minimalist and can even become repetitive. However, it is not until their meaning is revealed that we realize a thoughtful message is found in their simplicity, and it certainly fulfills their purpose of shifting history by influencing their audiences. Although the three pieces had a significant impact on me, “Theta Tati – Talk to me Father” by Turiya Magadlela achieve completely influence the way I see the world from now on, and it makes me wonder how the world sees me as a woman. Likewise, it allows me to reflect on my own struggles in nowadays society, and the way of living in it.
Turiya Magadlela designed this powerful and captivating work of art that at first glance appears to be a gigantic set of women’s nylon pantyhose interconnected with each other, which creates unusual shapes and involves color theories. As seen in other contemporary artworks, this piece can be vague if it is not interpreted correctly. However, it is well thought out, and the materials and colors are perfect to convey the concerns of the artist. Her works signify the fragility of women around the world, as well as their lack of equal opportunities. Through her art, Turiya Magadlela talks about her experience with the inappropriate treatment of thousands of women, particularly in South Africa where the artist is based. She also seeks to raise awareness about inequalities in female-based industries, ageism, and racialism.
This artwork influenced my perspective by allowing me to reflect on the important of finding my own voice. As Natalie guided us to understand the meaning behind this piece, she invited us to question ourselves and evaluate the challenges we have to face as women in our personal and professional lives. Since my career choice, finance, is a male-dominated space, I felt quite identified with her words and with the artist’s intentions. The financial world is not only aggressive by nature, but it lacks female inclusion in all areas, so it takes a lot of courage as a woman to pursue this pathway. However, Natalie’s response to this challenge was incredibly wise. She expressed that being the only woman in the room also has a lot of power. It made me realize that I was looking at these challenges from the wrong angle. By saying this, I am not trying to minimize it, but from this experience, I learned that a change in perspective can have a significant impact on your life. From now on, I approach life knowing that finding my voice is more valuable than how many people that look like me are in the same room.
Chosen Neighborhood as Text
“Hialeah: The City of Progress” by Maria Bracamonte of FIU.
Hialeah is a neighborhood that embraces multiple generations and their cultures in its streets. This city, which is better known as the City of Progress, takes its name from the combination of two words of Muskogee origin “Haiyakpo” and “hili” which mean “High Prairie.” Its name refers to the distinctive landscape that covers their lands and which came to the attention of the Miccosukee during 1750 CE. These lands were inhabited long before by the Tequesta, but the town was formed in 1921 due to the involvement of James H. Bright and Glenn H. Curtiss. Likewise, the City of Hialeah was incorporated in 1925 and since then it has become the sixth largest city in Florida with more than 224,000 residents nowadays.
Its population grew generously during the 1960s when a wave of Cuban refugees arrived in the United States, escaping the Castro dictatorship. This city has historically been the home of numerous Cuban exiles, being more than 75% of its population Cuban. Multiple monuments around the city pay tribute to leaders and heroes who are valuable to the culture of these residents, such as José Martí Monument. Additionally, ninety-six percent of the inhabitants are of Hispanic or Latino origin which has led this city to be known as one of the most culturally centralized or less diverse cities in the country, taking into consideration that only 7.22% of its residents speak English as a first language.
These percentages directly influence the way this city is. It has a great appreciation for the Hispanic culture, and it is reflected in its food, music, and commerce. This city is the closest I have been to Latin America since I moved to the United States. When exploring this city, you will see that most stores are playing loud music, there are people selling fruit or flowers in street stalls, and there are many cafeterias and ventanitas where groups of people talk while eating croquetas or drinking a coladita, among other Cuban dishes.
Regarding Hialeah’s landmarks, one of its most important and historic locations is the Hialeah Park Racetrack, built in 1925. It is a horse racing track in which history was made when Diane Crump competed as the first woman jockey in a horse race in 1969. Likewise, the city has fifteen parks, being Amelia Earhart Park one of its most famous ones, as well as seven pools, two tennis centers, sports leagues, and multiple museums. It offers multiple annual events for families of the community to enjoy, such as The Art on Palm Festival, Eggstravaganza, the Independence Day Celebration, and Santa’s Snowblast.
Another relevant aspect of this city is its transportation and its commerce. Hialeah’s location is quite convenient since it is a few minutes from anywhere in the county. It is surrounded by Opa-Locka, Miami, and Miami Lakes and provides immediate access to both Opa-Locka Airport and Miami International Airport. Likewise, on the subject of public transportation Miami Metrorail and Tri-Rail, as well as its transit buses are available for all Hialeah residents and visitors. Likewise, the dynamic community is one of the largest areas of employment and economic development in Miami-Dade County. A variety of mom-and-pop stores and national retail, restaurant chains, and franchises fuel Hialeah’s economy offering a variety of employment opportunities, some of which are JJ Flowers Hialeah Flower Shop, Hialeah Schwinn Cycle, and Red, White & Blue Thrift Store.
Hialeah is a city full of life, culture, and history, where you will be able to enjoy its beautiful but peculiar spaces. Despite not being a resident of the city or having any affinity with the Cuban culture, I feel quite close to it as a member of the Hispanic community. This city demonstrates a profound sense of community and pride towards its roots, therefore, visiting Hialeah is the perfect way to visit Latin America without leaving the United States.
“About Hialeah | Hialeah, FL.” Hialeahfl.gov, 2022, www.hialeahfl.gov/467/About-Hialeah. Accessed 12 Dec. 2022.
“History of Hialeah | Hialeah, FL.” Hialeahfl.gov, 2022, http://www.hialeahfl.gov/469/History-of-Hialeah. Accessed 12 Dec. 2022.
My Miami Final Reflection as Text
“Finding the Real Miami” by Maria Bracamonte of FIU.
I never fully understood what Stephen R. Covey meant when he said, “We see the world, not as it is, but as we are – or, as we are conditioned to see it” but that changed when I took the Miami In Miami course. I have been living in Miami for three years now, and before permanently moving here I visited this city multiple times. Whenever someone asked me how I would describe Miami, I used to answer that it was a city full of life that is influenced by many cultures with beautiful beaches, stunning structural design, and with many incredible locations to visit. Even though it is real, I innocently believe it was an absolute truth, without realizing that was just my perspective, and it was lacking knowledge and experience of the real Miami. In other words, I was conditioned to see it that way because I did not know better and never come into contact with Miami’s origins. I was just taking and accepting what was in from of me without further analysis of what this land was before and who used to live here, and we cannot entirely understand why this city is the way it is now, without taking a look at its past.
Fortunately, without looking for it, I had the opportunity to go find the real Miami. With the company of amazing classmates and a very much knowledgeable and by far the coolest professor I have ever met, I set out on this journey. It consists of eight classes with different destinations. Starting with Historic Miami where we visited Government Center and the “Dropped bowl with Scattered Slices and Peels” nearby, Wagner Family Homestead, Fort Dallas/William English Plantation Slave Quarters, Miami-Dade County Courthouse, Miami’s Kilometer Zero, Miami River, Miami Circle, Freedom Tower, and many other significant monument and spaces that represent Miami’s history. Followed by Hialeah and Overtown, Chicken Key, Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, South Beach, Deering Estate, Rubell Museum, and Untitled Art during the Miami Art Week.
This class was like no other I have ever taken. Having the chance to walk the same land that those who live here millions of years before me, understand their lives, and how they contribute to building the city is a remarkable experience. Likewise, being able to receive knowledge, and speak and hear from professionals outside FIU was very valuable. I strongly believe this class would not have been as impactful and influential if it would only consist of teaching the lessons with a PowerPoint presentation. I felt like I was doing study abroad in my own city, and it definitely allowed me to step out of my comfort zone by experiencing many first times, such as taking the metro, kayaking, and experiencing contemporary art, among others. It helped me grow as a more well-round person. I did not only learn more about the city that has become my second home, but I also met incredible people in a way that deeply impact my life, my way of thinking, and how I perspective the world. I discovered that by learning about others, I learn more about myself, my abilities, and my skills.
Due to my knowledge acquired in this class, my perspective of Miami and how I was conditionate to see it had changed. Even though it is still a city full of life with amazing places to visit, now I understand Miami is not only beaches, but it consists of multiple dense ecosystems. Now I know this land was the land of Tequesta and Miccosukee. I understand that the stories we were told only broadcast what was necessary. It failed to acknowledge Afro-Bahamian and Blacks’ labor and contribution to building Miami, as well as omitted their segregation, and overlook the recognition they deserve. I learned that strong women such as Julia Tuttle were essential to making Miami what it is nowadays. Finally, I now am aware that this city appreciates art like no other. Next time someone asks me how I would describe this beautiful city; I am sure all this new knowledge would come to mind, and I am excited to share the real Miami with others and keep learning about it.
“A Quote from the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.” Goodreads.com, 2022, http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/295715-we-see-the-world-not-as-it-is-but-as. Accessed 11 Dec. 2022.