Lead Advocate Against Gun Violence: Mother’s Unite!

Lead Advocate Against Gun Violence

In recent years, the issue of gun violence has taken center stage in America. From mass shootings that make headlines to the daily, often unnoticed, toll it takes on communities, it’s a crisis that has reached a breaking point. And at the forefront of this fight for change are mothers who have transformed their grief into a powerful force for good. Gun violence is a stark reality in many American neighborhoods, but its effects on Black mothers and their communities are particularly profound. Their harrowing stories, the resilience, and the activism of these mothers make them champions in the face of adversity.

The statistics are staggering. Gun violence is the leading cause of death for Black children and teenagers. Every day, Black mothers across the country are confronted with the fear that their children may not return home due to a stray bullet or a targeted attack. The effects of this violence ripple through communities, leaving a trail of trauma and loss in their wake. The pain experienced by Black mothers who lose their children to gun violence is immeasurable. It’s a pain that lingers, a wound that never truly heals. In the face of this staggering loss, Black mothers show remarkable resilience. They are mourning their children and channeling their grief into action. Many of them have become advocates, activists, and community leaders, determined to break the cycle of violence.

Gun violence doesn’t just affect individual families; it takes a toll on entire communities. Schools in neighborhoods plagued by gun violence often have students who struggle with trauma, making it harder for them to focus on their education. The pervasive threat of violence forces businesses to close, keeping residents indoors and robbing communities of the vibrancy they deserve. Black mothers are not just passive victims of gun violence; they are fierce advocates for change. Organizations like Moms Demand Action and Black Mothers Against Violence have emerged as powerful forces in the fight for common-sense gun control. These groups are pushing for policy changes, community investment, and greater awareness of the devastating impact of gun violence on Black families.

The above few paragraphs describe the life of Leatha Sherill-Bush. She is the founder of Survivors Affected by Violence: The Jack Brown Foundation

SGMD: Thank you for taking time away from your busy schedule to discuss your lived experience. Please introduce yourself.

LSB:  I’m a mother surviving her pain. Greetings. My name is Leatha Sherill-Bush. I’m the mother of 6 gifts from God. My beautiful children of one that’s adopted. Reasons why I say I’m a survivor. I’ve been through so many tragedies in this lifetime. But but God. I’m still standing. Even after the aftermath of losing two children, my 1st born son to gun violence and my 1st daughter to a medical illness. When I tell you, I’m a survivor of a multitude of life-changing experiences. Being a recovering addict. I made it through 27 years of recovery. Molestation, rape, and caged in a world of domestic violence. Losing my children to the system, DCF. Then, I returned with a vengeance to get full custody of my gifts from God. But God. I made it through. Seeing the trials and tribulations I went through. It was necessary. I had to understand the assignment. Because if it had not been for the Lord by my side. I wouldn’t know where I would be today. But God. God was my strength every time, I felt like giving up. I often said these words to myself: No matter what I went through, I never gave up. Giving up wasn’t an option when I knew. I came from a strong Black woman who raised 12 children by herself. None of the fathers was around. So, I lacked the love of a father. So that’s why I looked for love in all the wrong places. And I always looked for a father figure in a man. And that’s how I became a mother surviving her pain.

SGMD: Your story is so powerful and filled with resilience. You really answered the question of your purpose.

LSB: My purpose is that I’m still living it. All I want to do is give back to children and families who lost hope in life. To become bigger and better and beyond my wildest dreams and to give back as it’s so freely given back to me: hope.

SGMD: What is your call to action for the community?

SLB: My call to action is to find ways and means to deal with gun violence and grief. And to find solutions with other programs that can help in any way. To let the community know that we still care.

SGMD: Any final words?

LSB: God is able to heal the sick. He healed by his stripes. In the mighty name of Jesus Christ.

The stories of Black mothers impacted by gun violence are stories of pain, resilience, and hope. They stand as a powerful reminder that communities can heal and thrive when they come together to address this crisis. The fight for change is far from over, but with the determination of these mothers, there is hope for a future where gun violence is no longer a daily threat to Black families and their communities. The impact of gun violence on Black mothers and their communities is a pressing issue that demands our attention, empathy, and action. As a society, we must support these mothers in their efforts to bring about change and work collectively to create safer and more equitable communities for all.

The Resident Legal Diva

The Resident Legal Diva

Melba Pearson is an attorney specializing in civil rights and criminal law, emphasizing policy. She is the Director of Prosecution Projects at the Gordon Institute for Public Policy, and co-manager for the Prosecutorial Performance Indicators (PPI) Project based at Florida International University. The PPIs aim to bring more transparency, equity, and racial justice to the criminal justice system. Ms. Pearson also serves as Faculty in the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice. She has a consulting practice through her firm MVP Law, which includes assessments of police departments and creating community engagement strategies around criminal justice/civil rights issues. Before joining FIU, Ms. Pearson spent three years as Deputy Director of the ACLU of Florida. She worked to change police practices, expand voting rights, and reform the criminal justice system. Previously, Ms. Pearson was an Assistant State Attorney in Miami-Dade County for 16 years, culminating as Assistant Chief in the Career Criminal/Robbery Unit, supervising junior attorneys while prosecuting homicides. She serves as Vice Chair of the American Bar Association Criminal Justice Section, co-chair of the Prosecution Function Committee, and President of the National Black Prosecutors Association Foundation. Ms. Pearson regularly provides legal analysis for CourtTV, Law & Crime, local networks, and through op-eds that have been published in the Miami Herald, Washington Post, and other national outlets. She is the editor/author of the book “Can They Do That? Understanding Prosecutorial Discretion”. Lastly, she hosts a web show #MondayswithMelba, and a podcast as The Resident Legal Diva. In 2020, Ms. Pearson was the progressive candidate for Miami Dade State Attorney, garnering a strong showing across party lines. She lives in Miami Beach with her husband Bill.

SGMD: Melba, why did you become an attorney?

MPM: I became an attorney because I was inspired by all the stories my father used to share about the first civil rights movement. He always quickly reminded me that Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and other activists had attorneys who assisted them when arrested while protesting; they played a critical role in the movement’s success. As a beneficiary of their struggle, I felt it was important for me to carry on this work. 

SGMD: We thank you for heeding your father’s words. What drives you to continue the work?

MPM: Because we are not at the destination — equity, equality, and fair treatment for all! Sadly, we have seen a steady erosion of rights since 2016. Whether you think about voting (shrinking access to the ballot box by reducing early voting hours and falsely spreading rumors of voter fraud), reproductive justice (no one thought Roe v. Wade could ever be overturned), education (attacks on teaching accurate history, the fear of examining the fallout from slavery to the present day, and terrorizing teachers), criminal justice (removing the requirement for a unanimous jury to implement the death penalty, limited resources for people returning to the community post-incarceration, disparities in how victims of color are treated), and LGBTQ+ rights — we have a very long way to go.

SGMD: There is a real lived experience here; please share your thoughts on Florida’s social justice movement in the next three years.

MPM: The last few years have been an intense wake-up call nationally, especially in Florida. We have seen two years of the Florida Legislature delivering everything the governor has requested to fuel his culture wars for his presidential ambitions — all on the backs of Floridians. I believe the backlash to the hateful laws will cause more people to mobilize – whether through educating themselves about issues they had not previously considered, actively engaging their elected officials, or running for office themselves. I see parents stepping up out of concern about what their kids are learning (or more importantly, not learning). I see us leveraging social media and the power of the people — people who have previously been apathetic are now paying attention and realizing that we all have to do our part for a brighter, better future. Most importantly, we will have a new governor in 2026, which is the perfect springboard to engage people around the core value of justice. 

SGMD: And this is why voting is so important.

GOD’s Grace


Her beauty is breathtaking, her voice is commanding with melodies of warmth, and GOD’s grace is always upon her glaze. She is an award-winning philanthropist, public speaker, and radio & TV personality. Upon research, she has also been found to be an author. SitiGirl Miami-Dade (SGMD) will share what the world knows about her and ask a few questions for the world to learn about her.

Davica Williams, respectfully known as “Davi Speaks” of “The Wondertwinz”, is one of today’s most sought-after Public Figures. DaviSpeaks’ effervescent personality, matched with her transparency and oratorical mastery, channels her delivery in captivating audiences through words of inspiration and empowerment.

In her book The Wonder Years, she brings readers front and center through early childhood traumas that shaped her message of resilience and triumph. People often are left in awe of her ability to overcome and thrive. Her raw words are likened to a refracted mirror that guides those who share space with her to be ushered into a scared space of healing through self-awareness. Volume 1 of Me, Myself and My Story The Wonder Years pays homage to her late identical twin sister, Demetria Olivia Williams. This body of work was meant to be co-authored by The WonderTwinz synonymously but through their own unique perspectives. As this three-volume memoir unfolds, readers will sojourn through the lives of mirror-image identical twins who overcame rape, sexual violence, colorism, bullying, and autoimmune disease.

SGMD: What awakes you in the morning?

DW: Great Question! After I give thanks to GOD for gifting me with a new breath of life, I am relentlessly driven to command my day with the intention of empowering and awakening the human soul to its fullest potential.

SGMD: It is clear that your faith leads you to be the best you! Tell us the role that ministry plays in your life.

DW: Ministry plays a role in every facet of my life, from the marketplace as a multi-media personality, Higher Education Executive, and Realtor. I believe that I take dominion over the atmosphere in every space my feet touch. In every space my voice carries, I command life in every dead situation. Wherever my hands touch, I build and make it a better place than how I found it. Ministry is bigger than the four walls of the church. 

SGMD: As you so eloquently stated, ministry is bigger than the building. Where do you see yourself in three years?

DW: I see myself expanding my philanthropic influence here in South Florida, working on a doctorate degree, celebrating my kids’ wins academically and socially, prayerfully in courtship, or getting married! I see myself open for GOD to expand me for his glory in the earth.

SGMD: We will most definitely support all of the above.

Movement Lawyer


Movement lawyering is a legal approach that seeks to support and advance social justice movements by providing legal assistance, advocacy, and expertise to activists and organizers. This approach recognizes that legal issues often intersect with broader social and political movements and aims to use the law to achieve social change and justice.

Meet Carrie Feit, a Senior Attorney at Community Justice Project. Carrie grew up in Brooklyn, New York, and landed at George Washington University for law school, earning a J.D. and a Master’s of Public Health. She practiced for over 20 years in Miami as a federal court litigator representing individuals in their disability insurance claims, first with a small firm and, beginning in 2008, in her own practice.

A defining moment for Carrie was the election of the 45th President of the United States when she woke up to unapologetic racism, ableism, xenophobia, and unspeakable misogyny. With her children and nieces in mind, she joined the organizing of the Women’s March on Washington and helped found Women’s March Florida, which, most importantly to her, brought her into the struggle for collective liberation guided by Black and Brown and Queer community organizers and organizations rooted in systems change in Miami. Carrie’s commitment to allyship, equity, and the ability for all to thrive through organizing informed by marginalized populations led to her impassioned transition to movement lawyering.

SGMD asked Carrie about her work-life balance, which she shared with us. “Balance is still aspirational at this point, but what pushes me towards work-life balance is my work in the community that reminds me of my privilege and makes me increasingly grateful for my family and our life together.  I continue to fight in the trenches, most recently doing eviction defense work, because of the direct impact on women and families. I stay in the long-term struggle for systems change because of my faith in and inspiration from the love and beautiful humanity surrounding me in the movement. As I navigate the familiar and the unfamiliar, I tell myself, “If you’re uncomfortable,  you’re doing the good work.””

Movement lawyering is closely associated with social justice movements such as civil rights, environmental justice, immigration rights, and LGBTQ+ rights. By working alongside activists and communities, movement lawyers aim to use the law to dismantle oppression systems and advance justice and equity.

The Business of Social Work: A Conversation with a Multifaceted Black Social Worker, Mother, Wife, and Business Owner

The Business of Social Work

In a world where women continuously redefine their roles, we have the privilege of sitting down with a remarkable individual who seems to effortlessly navigate the complex terrain of being a black social worker, a dedicated mother, a loving wife, and a thriving business owner. Join us in gaining insights into her journey, challenges, and strategies for successfully juggling these significant roles. Please meet wife, mother, business owner, and Social Worker Tiesha Carvil.

SGMD: Thank you for joining us today. To begin, could you share a little about yourself and the different hats you wear daily?

TC: Of course, I’m delighted to be here. My name is Tiesha, and my life is a beautiful tapestry of roles. I’m a Black female social worker specializing in substance abuse, where I support individuals and families facing various challenges. I’m also a mother of three incredible children, a wife to an amazing husband, and the proud owner of Healing Minds Therapeutic Services, LLC centered around helping people heal and work through ways to overcome addiction, anxiety, depression, and co-occurring conditions.

SGMD: It’s truly inspiring how you manage all these roles. Can you shed some light on what brought you to Social Work?

TC: My mom. She had been a substance abuse user for as long as I could remember. When she died last year of an overdose, I believe I understood my calling even more to help other children and parents not fall into the trap of this disease.

SGMD: Our condolences to you and your family, and we thank you for your transparency. In light of your mother’s passing, what impact do you want to leave on Earth?

TC: That I was an amazing wife, mother, and friend. I don’t believe all the other things matter if my family doesn’t believe in me.

SGMD: That’s a valuable perspective and a wonderful approach to life as a whole. As you balance the demands of motherhood, being a wife, and a business owner, what keeps you motivated for the work?

TC: Knowing that God desires to use people who want to be used and that many souls need his help. I never know when he will use me or what he will have me say, but I want to be used and led by him.

Tiesha’s story exemplifies the strength and grace that comes with wearing various hats. As a Black female social worker, mother, wife, and business owner, she’s mastered the art of blending her roles in service to others. Her journey serves as a reminder that embracing imperfection and seeking support are essential elements of a thriving life.

Message from your Editor in Chief

A Fashionable Back-to-School Start for Students and Community

The back-to-school season is more than just textbooks and classrooms; it’s an opportunity for students to make a stylish entrance and for communities to come together in support. Let’s explore how students can embrace their unique style while positively impacting the community, even in uniforms.

For our girls and young ladies, build your back-to-school wardrobe around versatile basics that reflect your personal style. Invest in well-fitted jeans, crisp white tees, and classic blouses that can be mixed and matched effortlessly. Incorporate a few trendy pieces to showcase your fashion-forward attitude. Consider incorporating statement accessories like oversized sunglasses or chunky sneakers for a touch of urban chic.

Accessories are a fantastic way to express your personality. Opt for delicate layered necklaces, bold statement earrings, or a unique handbag that becomes a conversation starter. Support local artisans by choosing handcrafted jewelry and accessories. Not only will you stand out with one-of-a-kind pieces, but you’ll also contribute to your community’s creative economy. Organize or participate in fashion swap events within your community. This sustainable approach to fashion encourages recycling while providing an opportunity to revamp your wardrobe. Collaborate with your school or local organizations to host charity fashion shows. Showcase your style on the runway while raising funds for a worthy cause in your community.

Dressing well isn’t just about aesthetics; it’s about feeling confident and empowered. Choose outfits that make you feel ready to conquer your studies and personal goals. Engage on social media to share your back-to-school looks and style tips. Inspire other students in your community to embrace their fashion sense and boost their confidence.

As the back-to-school season unfolds, students have the opportunity to showcase their style and make a positive impact on their community. By mixing timeless pieces with trendy accents, accessorizing with purpose, and engaging in community-driven fashion events, we can all contribute to a fashionable and supportive start to the academic year.


Meet Your Editor in Chief

I am Cortes Maria Lewis James, your Miami-Dade Siti Girl Magazine EIC. Thank you for allowing me to take you on a Magic City ride through Miami-Dade County. This magazine will cover hot topics, hotter people, and the hottest of all our climates. I am a serial entrepreneur with over thirty-five years of advocacy experience driven to establish strategic policies for incarcerated women and girls nationwide to obtain an improved quality of life around health, education, and economics once they are released. I enjoy building relationships with key stakeholders through collaborations. I am the AdvocatePreneur, Guardian Ad Litem guru, and a financial enthusiast.

Please email us at miamidadesitigirlmag@gmail.com for a feature or if you have a hot topic to share.


Beauty Is Her Name

Who is Monique Coney?

I am a Miami native, born and raised in the Magic City; I currently live in Fort Lauderdale, FL. I am a model, pageant titleholder, host, media correspondent, author, community volunteer, and public speaker. I am looking to grow in the fashion community, the entertainment industry, and the world of international pageantry. I started my commercial, print, and runway model career in early 2019.  Through modeling, I was introduced to the world of pageantry. As a title holder, I have been able to speak throughout the community on health and wellness topics, social issues. I also serve as a mentor and role model to young women.

How do you serve your community?

My community platform is the newly created “S.E.R.V.E,” Serving Everywhere Resiliently and Virtuously on Earth. The goal of “S.E.R.V.E” is to promote the spirit of volunteerism and community service worldwide. My hope is to give motivational encouragement through my social media platform of “MoniQ Endeavors,” @moniqendeavors, where the goal is to empower the community through confidence and acts of service along with travel, environmental awareness, health, wellness, and fashion to make every day endeavors meaningful ones. I am a member of Chi Sigma Delta Sorority Incorporated, where I serve on the National Board as National Marketing Director and as Queen’s Care Liaison for the Miami-Dade county chapter of Mu Kappa. I currently work as a 911 Dispatcher, and I am a graduate of Miami Dade College of Miami, Fl. My future goal is to have a new career in journalism as well as real estate and start my own tour guide business in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. I look forward to learning, growing, and continuing my love of service internationally.

What is your life’s ambition?

I strive to serve. I want my life to encompass serving and helping others. I want to be a role model and set a good example in all factions of my life because one never knows who is looking and who is being inspired by your actions. I hope to make my family and friends proud of me and hope that I get to live a full, meaningful life.

What does your volunteer life look like?

I currently volunteer on the National Board of my sorority, Chi Sigma Delta Sorority Incorporated, as the National Marketing Director. I also volunteer on the committee of the Chi Sigma Delta Sorority Incorporated Mentorship Program called Young Fly Queens. I volunteer in my local chapter of the Mu Kappa Chapter of Chi Sigma Delta as Queen’s Care Liaison and Event Coordinator. Also, with the Mu Kappa Chapter, we have done monthly community service projects to support and bring awareness to Autism. Prepared care bags for the City of Ft. Lauderdale unhoused community, community gardening with Health in the Hood, Back to School drive with the City of Miami Gardens, and holiday cards for Veterans with Support Our Troops.  I volunteer as a Royal Ambassador with the U.S. United Pageant System, where I serve throughout the community at Breast Cancer Awareness Walks as well as Community Food Drives with organizations such as Health in the Hood and Feeding South Florida, community street clean-ups, citizen beach clean-ups, Christmas toy drives, and donating to community food pantries. Finally, I have donated my time virtually to many organizations such as St. Jude’s Hospital, Nationwide Childen’s Hospital, Queen’s Village: The Podcast, and DG Designing the Future: Women Winning in Business.

What world leader inspires you?

A world leader who inspires me is Greta Thunberg. The work that she is doing as a young activist is phenomenal! She is inspiring because, at such a young age, she is confident and unapologetic for the cause of climate change mitigation. I love how she inspires us, in the smallest ways, to make everyday lifestyle changes to reduce our carbon footprint. She challenges us to not just look for hope but to create it!

What is your favorite food?



Still Looking For Summer Fun?

Summer break is a great time to spend quality moments with your family. Whether you’re planning a vacation or enjoying some downtime at home, there are many activities you can do together to make the most of your time off. Here are some ideas:

1. Plan a family trip: Explore new destinations and create lasting memories by going on a vacation together. You can visit a beach, go camping, or explore a new city. Involve your family in the planning process to ensure everyone’s interests are considered.

2. Enjoy outdoor activities: Take advantage of the warm weather and engage in outdoor activities. Go hiking, biking, swimming, or have a picnic in a nearby park. These activities provide opportunities for bonding and physical exercise.

3. Have a movie or game night: Set aside a specific evening each week for a movie or game night with the family. Allow everyone to take turns choosing a movie or game, creating a fun and inclusive experience.

4. Cook or bake together: Spend time in the kitchen and prepare meals or bake treats together. This not only teaches valuable cooking skills but also promotes teamwork and creativity. Try new recipes or make family favorites.

5. Explore local attractions: Discover the attractions and events in your local area. Visit museums, zoos, or amusement parks nearby. You might be surprised at the hidden gems you find close to home.

6. Volunteer together: Find volunteer opportunities as a family. Choose a cause that resonates with your family and spend time helping others. It’s a meaningful way to bond while making a positive impact on your community.

7. Start a family project: Engage in a collective project that requires teamwork and creativity. It could be building something, creating a family scrapbook, or working on a garden. The project allows everyone to contribute their ideas and efforts.

8. Learn something new: Enroll in a summer class or workshop as a family. It could be a cooking class, art workshop, or a sports activity. Learning together not only enhances your skills but also strengthens family bonds.

9. Have regular family discussions: Dedicate specific times to have open and meaningful conversations with your family members. Share stories, discuss goals, and reflect on your experiences. This helps build trust and understanding among family members.

Remember, the most important thing is to spend quality time together and create cherished memories. It doesn’t matter how grand or simple the activities are; what matters is the love and connection you foster as a family. Enjoy your summer break!


Nurturing Black Repro Health: Empowering Young Adults for a Healthier Future

As young adults, understanding and advocating for our reproductive health is essential. For Black individuals, it’s important to recognize the unique challenges and disparities we may face within the healthcare system. By equipping ourselves with knowledge, fostering open conversations, and demanding change, we can work towards a future of improved Black reproductive health. This article aims to explore key topics and provide guidance for young adults navigating the realm of reproductive health.

1. Breaking the Stigma: Embracing Open Dialogue
– Discussing reproductive health can sometimes be uncomfortable due to societal taboos and cultural norms. Let’s challenge these stigmas and foster open conversations within our communities.
– Highlighting the importance of destigmatizing discussions around contraception, sexual health, and reproductive rights to ensure informed decision-making.

2. Empowering Choices: Accessing Reproductive Healthcare
– Knowledge is power! Educate yourself on available reproductive healthcare options such as birth control methods, sexually transmitted infection (STI) prevention, and family planning resources.
– Recognizing the impact of healthcare disparities on Black communities and advocating for accessible and affordable reproductive healthcare services.

3. Navigating Relationships: Healthy Intimacy and Consent
– Exploring the importance of healthy relationships, consent, and effective communication in promoting positive sexual experiences.
– Addressing the intersectionality of race, gender, and sexual orientation and how it shapes our experiences, desires, and boundaries.

4. Maternal Health Matters: Understanding Pregnancy and Beyond
– Recognizing the higher risks faced by Black women during pregnancy and childbirth.
– Discussing strategies for ensuring access to quality prenatal care, understanding maternal mortality rates, and advocating for comprehensive postpartum support.

5. Reproductive Justice: Fighting for Our Rights
– Explaining the concept of reproductive justice and its relevance to Black communities.
– Encouraging young adults to engage in activism and advocacy efforts to address systemic racism, healthcare inequities, and the fight for reproductive autonomy.

6. Self-Care and Mental Health: Prioritizing Overall Well-being
– Emphasizing the importance of self-care practices, including stress management, emotional support, and mental health resources.
– Highlighting the impact of racial trauma on mental health and providing guidance for seeking culturally competent care.

By equipping ourselves with knowledge, engaging in open dialogue, and actively advocating for our reproductive health, we can pave the way for a healthier future. Let’s embrace our power as young adults to challenge societal norms, dismantle barriers, and demand equitable access to reproductive healthcare. Together, we can make a difference in nurturing the reproductive health and well-being of Black individuals and communities.