Miramar, Florida, has been designated an All-America City by the National Civic League. Miramar won the award for its work in building equity and resilience and creating stronger relationships among its residents, businesses, nonprofit, and government leaders. The city was one of ten across the US to win the All-America City Award. It is notable that all of the city’s commissioners and its mayor were either born Jamaican or are of Jamaican descent. Maya Bhola, a graduate of Miramar High School, received the National Civic League’s 2021 All-America City John Parr Youth Award for “demonstrating insight, impact, and courage to collaborate with others.”
In presenting the award, Doug Linkhart, the president of the National Civic League, said the organization was happy to provide Miramar with the designation as an All-America City as it illustrated in its application and presentation that it does “a great job of engaging the entire community to build equity and resilience.”
The mayor of Miramar, Wayne Messam, said the city was honored by the recognition and noted that its residents, strong economy, and diverse culture make Miramar a really “desirable place to live, work, visit, and play.” Messam called the award “amazing.” City Commissioner Alexandra P. Davis said she was “beyond delighted” at the city’s award and thanked the All-America City Award jurors and team for seeing the value in the city.
Mayor Messam is a first-generation American, the first of his Jamaican parents to be born in the US. He was raised in South Bay and has lived in Miramar for 18 years. He attended Glades Central High School and received full athletic and academic scholarships to Florida State University FSU, where he was a member of the 1993 National Championship Football Team and was named Student of the Year in 1996 by FSU’s Black Alumni Association. He graduated from FSU with a BA in Management Information Systems in 1997. He is a licensed General Contractor and a LEED-Accredited Professional. His firm Messam Construction is involved with building and managing “green” construction projects in the US. In 2011, he was elected to the City of Miramar Commission. He served two terms as chair of the Broward County Small Business Development Advisory Board and is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., Sigma Pi Fraternity (Boulé) and 100 Black Men of South Florida.
Vice Mayor Yvette Colbourne was born in Panama and is of Jamaican descent. She has lived in Miramar for 26 years and has Master of Public Administration and Bachelor in Business Administration degrees from Nova Southeastern University. She received the 2012 Award for the Most Accomplished Black Community Leader and Entrepreneur from ICABA, the 2015 Award for being one of the 50 Most Powerful and Influential Professionals in Business and Industry from Legacy Magazine, the 2018 Paul Harris Award from the Rotary Club of Miramar Pines, and the 2019 “Leaders Who Shine” Award from the Broward Democrats. She is the co-chair of the Miramar Census Complete Committee. She was first elected as a Miramar Commissioner in 2013, twice served as Vice Mayor, and represents the city on the Broward County Metropolitan Planning Organization board and the Broward League of Cities.
Commissioner Alexandra P. Davis is of Jamaican descent and was born in England but raised in Jamaica. She attended Mico Practicing All Age School, Wolmer’s Girls’ High School, and the University of the West Indies (UWI), graduating with a BSc degree in zoology and chemistry. She worked for the Ministry of Agriculture in Kingston, the Capital Taxes office in London, and Miami-Dade Government in Florida.
She created the nonprofit Caribefest, Inc. in 2003 to promote diversity, tolerance, and unity in the Miramar community, has served on Miramar’s Planning and Zoning Board, the Community Services Board and the Education Board. She became the Vice Mayor in 2013. Davis won Commission Seat 4 in 2019 and was nominated by her colleagues as a Solid Waste Delegate for Broward County and chosen to serve as an Affordable Housing Advisory Committee Member as an Elected Representative in 2020. She is a certified teacher and formed the nonprofit Caribbean American Teachers Association of Florida (CATAF) in 2015. She has received numerous awards and praise for her civic service work.
Commissioner Winston F. Barnes was born in Jamaica and has a bachelor’s degree from the New York Institute of Technology and a Master of Science degree from Florida International University. He is the News Director at WAVS 1170 AM Radio and has lived in Miramar and Broward County for some time. He serves as adjunct professor at Florida Memorial University in Miami Gardens and is involved with youth activities at Christway Baptist Church. He was elected to the city commission in 2003 and has served on numerous advisory boards at the county level. He received many awards from service organizations in the community over the past 27 years.
Commissioner Maxwell B. Chambers was born in Jamaica and immigrated to the United States from Clarendon. He has lived in Miramar since 2007. First elected to office in 2015 as a Miramar City Commission, he became Vice-Mayor in 2016. He was reelected in 2017 and 2021 and currently serves as Commission. He volunteers with Kids and the Power of Work (KAPOW) and is on the board of the Police Athletic League (PAL). In addition to his commission role, Chambers supports many civic causes, including the Army National Guard and sickle cell awareness organizations. He developed the Community First +1 program, the loveDROP program, and the MASH and EMAP programs that provide financial aid for utilities. He has championed food distribution programs during the COVID-19 pandemic, supports access for all children to higher education, and created COVID mask and hand sanitation product distribution and drive-up vaccination sites. He is also active in the rebuilding of water treatment and restoration programs.
Over the past 20 years, Miramar has experienced very high rates of growth that have brought both benefits and challenges. As of 2000, Miramar had the fifth-highest percentage of Jamaican residents in the US. It is also home to many people from other Caribbean countries, including Cuba, Haiti, Dominica, and Trinidad.