Laquavia Smith/ Staff Writer
“My cousins’ sell dope on this block,” Aaron Jackson, a young photographer from Miami said.
Like many Miami natives, he didn’t grow up with the Miami Beach lifestyle that tourists love to visit. Jackson grew up in these inner-city neighborhoods where the culture and economical issues made him the artist he is today.
As a Miami native myself and a FIU student, I aim to bring awareness to all aspects of culture, art and communication, not solely what is glorified and unjustified.
In a four by four space in Wynwood, Jackson began his exhibit, “The Liberty City Project by Aaron J. Jackson,” where he displayed his life and the real Miami through photographs.
The heart of Miamians reside in Overtown, Carol City and Liberty City.
Wanting to portray the safer areas of Miami’s inner-city, Jackson said, “I didn’t want to showcase the negativity in the hood.”
His art varied from Miami’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. parade to a photograph of the local young girl shot and killed in his neighborhood. Jackson gives us the authenticity that the media often leaves out as well as the positivity that is under-praised in the cover story. The issue at hand is that yes, there is crime in Miami, but there is also culture and collectivism. These areas where the news criticize and the tourists refrain from are the same areas where strong bonds reside, but also where controversy arises.
Poverty exists and continues to flourish no matter what communities and civilians try to do. It’s the issue of foreigners buying out properties and destroying what was a mom and pop corner store, or a childhood playground. It’s this “cleaning up” of the hood that destroys the community even more.
“All Aboard Florida Building ‘Wall’ Separating Overtown From Park West” reads one article from The Next Miami. “Miami-Dade commissioners agree to sell Overtown site to Beckham group” reads Channel 10’s news story.
How can we grow as a group of people if everything we know is being destroyed and taken out of reach?
Often times when classmates ask me where I’m from and I respond Miami, they get this image of Ocean Drive after 5 o’clock, with the sun setting. However, my family was born and raised in Liberty City, which is more than 15 minutes away from Ocean Drive or Collins Avenue.
Don’t get me wrong, tourism helps the economic standing of businesses and employees who work on and for the beach, but it continues to raise prices and degrade neighborhoods for us normal people. The stigmatism of violence and crime, as well as the racism that comes with historically black neighborhoods such as Overtown, which was once called Color Town, is what the media, city officials and state officials continue to portray in relation to the African American people.
“The beach overshadows the hood of Miami,” Jackson said.
We deserve the decency of remodeling our neighborhoods, not having them stolen from us. How can we better our people if everything around them is being destroyed and beautified while simultaneously being no longer in their reach?
Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”
In this day and age, children no matter what race should feel as supported and uplifted as the immigrants, no matter their native country. However, in states nationwide, this is not the case. Change has not occurred. It has been stifled.
The opinions presented within this page do not represent the views of Panther Press Editorial Board. These views are separate from editorials and reflect individual perspectives of contributing writers and/or members of the University community.
Photo taken from Flickr.