FIU Foundation News

Foundation Office of Inclusive Philanthropy gathers community for free screenings, discussion of film depicting Arthur McDuffie’s legacy

Panelists discuss Dudley Alexis's film, "When Liberty Burns," at a free screening event hosted by the FIU Foundation Office of Inclusive Philanthropy and sponsored by the Black Archives Historic Lyric Theater and the Southeast Overtown/Park West Community Redevelopment Agency.

Photos by Margi Rentis

The anniversary of George Floyd’s death at the hands of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin falls on May 25, 2021. In remembrance of Floyd and countless others, the FIU Foundation Office of Inclusive Philanthropy (FOIP) hosted free screenings of Dudley Alexis’s award-winning film, “When Liberty Burns,” at the Black Archives Historic Lyric Theater on May 15 and 16.

The film explores the life and legacy of Arthur McDuffie, whose death by police sparked the 1980 McDuffie riots in Miami. Following the evening screening on Saturday, May 15, a panel of law enforcement and racial justice experts discussed the film and the impact the McDuffie riots had on race relations in South Florida.

The event is part of the FOIP’s goal – in addition to fundraising for diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives at the university – to collaborate with its university and community partners to host events that encourage discourse around issues of diversity and equity in South Florida’s history and beyond.

“When Liberty Burns” Director Dudley Alexis joined guests for the screenings. His film won the Knight Made in MIA Feature Film Award at the 37th Miami Film Festival.
Before the film screenings each day, the FOIP hosted a community access event open to the public. It featured breast health education and mammography scheduling provided by the Linda Fenner 3D Mobile Mammography Center, pictured; and health and wellness screenings and vaccine education provided by the Green Family Foundation NeighborhoodHELP program and Nicole Wertheim College of Nursing & Health Sciences.
The Rumcake Factory
The community access event also featured local vendors from FIU’s StartUP FIU Food entrepreneurship accelerator. The Rumcake Factory, pictured, brought along cajun chicken wings, fried shrimp, and – of course – their namesake rum cakes.
guests wait outside Black Archives Historic Lyric Theater
Guests wait outside the Black Archives Historic Lyric Theater for free screenings and a panel discussion of “When Liberty Burns.” The theater is located in Miami’s historic Overtown neighborhood. It opened in 1913 and has been visited by countless stars over the years, including James Brown and Aretha Franklin. The theater was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places in 1989.
Director Dudley Alexis meets with Dr. Kimberly Green, President of the Green Family Foundation Trust. The Green Family Foundation Trust was among the supporters that backed the award-winning film’s production; and the organization has supported many major academic initiatives at FIU, including naming the Steven J. Green School of International & Public Affairs and the Green Family Foundation NeighborhoodHELP program.
LaTéssa Dotson Hall stands with FIU President Mark B. Rosenberg inside the theater. The Dotson family has a long history of support for our FIU, beginning with Albert Dotson Sr., a trustee emeritus who chaired the Board of Trustees from 2009-2011 and is credited with coining the phrase “FIU: The Finest Institution in the Universe.”
Maia McGill, founding director of the FOIP and senior executive director for foundation relations at the FIU Foundation, welcomes guests and introduces the film. McGill leads the newly formed, diverse team of development officers focused on fundraising for diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives at FIU.
More than 400 guests – including FIU supporters, members of the local community, students, staff and faculty – registered to view the moving documentary.
When Liberty Burns panelists
Following the 6:30 p.m. screening on Saturday, a group of law enforcement and racial justice experts discussed the legacy of Arthur McDuffie and the historical impact of the 1980 McDuffie riots. Pictured, left to right: Moderator Frantz Williams of the FIU Foundation Office of Inclusive Philanthropy; “When Liberty Burns” Director Dudley Alexis; Captain James Mesidor of the FIU Police Department, who was previously a member of the North Miami Police Department; Dr. Tameka Bradley Hobbs, associate provost for academic affairs at Florida Memorial University and founding director of the FMU Social Justice Institute; and Timothy Barber, executive director of the Black Archives Historic Lyric Theater

FOIP aims to bring about systemic change

The FOIP is a team of diverse development officers at FIU focused on philanthropic investment in diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives.

The FOIP brings together development professionals and community and industry partners from diverse backgrounds to inform, implement and evaluate philanthropic strategy and programming that promotes systemic change. This includes scholarships and wrap-around support services for students, increased faculty diversity, strong and inclusive advisory board governance, social equity research, cultural competence trainings, and improved health and education outcomes.

Launched in 2021, the FOIP will play a significant role in the final phase of the university’s Next Horizon campaign to raise $750 million to advance student success and research excellence at FIU.