About Activate Overtown

Activate Overtown is a project focused on empowering and activating the community through the creation of changes in public space. The changes to the public space will be done through the installation of tactical urbanism elements with the goal of creating more spaces for the Overtown community to be active and have more opportunities to connect with one another. 

Tactical Urbanism is a community-led approach that uses short-term, low-cost, and scalable interventions—like pop-up parks, art installations, and sidewalk decals—to catalyze long-term change to neighborhood safety and connectivity. 

With the help of Overtown residents, we are hoping the changes will reflect the uniqueness and character of Overtown. Check out this video for more information on tactical urbanism and look out for the decals that have been installed in Overtown!

This tactical urbanism project is a community-led design that creates immediate changes to the built environment and builds momentum for more improvements while forming trust, partnerships, and improved relationships. Our aim through this project has also been to hire and train residents as Community Liaisons that will support the development and implementation of the project. UHP has built their capacity and knowledge about critical issues related to the built environment and community health. This is being done through several trainings and on the job experience through project related tasks, like outreach and site visits. In addition, to training and supervision related to the project, UHP has provided and coordinate career path training that would provide Community Liaisons opportunities to further their professional goals and gain relevant job skills.

Outreach and Outcomes

The first phase of outreach for this project was to engage residents and partners, gather their input and ideas, and ensure that these are represented in the built environment changes. The outreach also provided an opportunity for community members to learn about ongoing issues in their communities, particularly as they relate to the intersection of health and the built environment, the implementation of other transportation projects, and advocating for changes they want to see in their community.

The recommendations from the community have been incorporated into changes to the built environment, which have create a walking path through Overtown. Sidewalk decals and markers are installed to create a 25-minute and 45-minute walking path that highlight important parts of Overtown’s past and present and provides info on ways you can engage in shaping Overtown’s future. The second phase of outreach is focused on getting residents engaged in the walking path and taking part in elements that are of interest to them.

About Funder 

The Common Good Initiative, launched in 2014 by Allegany Franciscan Ministries, is designed to mobilize communities towards better health and wellness through community engagement, a long-term commitment of resources, and increased collaboration of residents and stakeholders. Allegany Franciscan Ministries has committed a significant amount of capital – human, financial, social, and spiritual – to the initiative.  With leadership and guidance from local Councils for the Common Good, we are working with community residents and stakeholders to create opportunities, develop strategies and make investments that lead to positive health outcomes for people in three underserved Florida communities. For more information, please visit the website here.

Meet the Activate Overtown Community Liaisons!

Meet Raquel Hanshaw! Raquel Hanshaw joined UHP as a Community Liaison in June of 2021.  Raquel Hanshaw is a woman of integrity and ambition. She has worked as a union delegate for 1199 SEIU at the University of Miami Hospital. As a Community Liaison, Raquel aims to stay dedicated to informing people about the changes within the Overtown community and opportunities for co-designing positive change.

Meet Tamu Quinton! Tamu Quinton joined UHP as a Community Liaison in May of 2021. Tamu is a native of New York City, but currently resides as a resident and community member of Overtown in Miami, FL. One of my Tamu’s goals is to work with communities in every developmental stage, assist in making positive change directly to families and neighborhoods while improving mobility and way of life. Tamu earned her Bachelor’s degree in Sociology with a minor in Psychology from Florida International University.

Past Community Liaisons:

Cecilia Stewart

Cecilia Stewart, a native Miamian and proud Overtown resident, is an Activate Overtown Community Liaison. Ms. Stewart is a graduate of Howard University in Washington, DC, where she earned the Bachelor of Science, and Master of Science Degrees. Ms. Stewart is actively serving as a Community Advocate, Organizer and Spokesperson of the Overtown Neighbors for Environmental Health and Safety, and a member of the City of Miami Community Advisory Board. She held the position of Chair of the Overtown Advisory Board and the Historic Hampton House Community Trust, Inc., Board of Trustees. Ms. Stewart is devoting time to preserving and celebrating Miami’s history as Chair of the Miami-Dade County Historic Preservation Board and member of the Lemon City Cemetery Community Corporation. She serves as the City of Miami Police Department’s Liaison for the Neighborhood Crime Watch Team and Citizens on Patrol in the Overtown community.

Meet Adonis Romero!

Adonis is currently an engineering student, studying at Miami-Dade College. He has over four years of experience in community organizing and working with various organizations in South Florida and across the State, such as PowerU Center For Social Change, FL Student Power, Dream Defenders, The HOMY Collective, and others across the country. As a resident of Overtown, he is passionate about participating in programs to help make his community a better place to live, as well as providing opportunities for those who reside there, with a focus on the youth. His background has provided him a great understanding of community engagement, which goes hand-in-hand being a Community Liaison.

Tranell Harris

Tranell Harris was born and raised in Miami, FL. She has four children, three boys and one girl. She previously worked in the Transportation Department of the Miami Dade County School Board for 16 years. Currently, Tranell works for a non-profit organization called Suited for Success. Tranell is passionate in helping individuals overcome tragic obstacles.  As an Activate Overtown Community Liaison, Tranell hopes to work with organizations that seek to give back.


Nancy Martinez

Nancy Martínez has been living in Overtown for two years. Nancy is currently studying architecture and enjoys engaging in the community. As an Activate Overtown Community Liaison, she hopes to inspire and spread positive changeand making a difference towards a better environment for everyday people. 

Introducing the Overtown Parks Group

A group of Overtown residents and community partners have joined together to form a new subcommittee of the Overtown Children and Youth Committee (OCYC), called the Overtown Healthy Parks & Public Spaces Community Group or Overtown Parks Group for short. We’re bringing together people who are interested in helping to improve Overtown parks’ ability to provide healthy spaces and activities. 

The Overtown Parks Group will be focused on advancing community-driven solutions, programs and policies that improve and bring investment into Overtown parks. The parks already serve as key places for people to gather for recreation, for exercise, and to access occasional services like food distributions, health fairs, and COVID-19 support services. However, Overtown’s parks need support for improved facilities, consistent services, and increased access in order to truly serve the needs of the neighborhood. 

To develop a community-driven plan to improve the parks, the Overtown Parks Group will start gathering input and ideas:

  1. At community events;
  2. Through a virtual community survey; and
  3. By conducting an assessment of what’s currently happening at the five City of Miami-operated parks in the neighborhood (Gibson Park, Williams Park, Dorsey Park, Reeves Park, and Rainbow Village Park).

After this first round of information gathering, the Group will co-design a Community Action Plan that outlines goals, priorities and strategies for moving forward. Join us in this effort! Participate in the Overtown Parks Group in the following ways:


Subscribe to the Overtown Parks Group Newsletter

Sign up for the newsletter to learn about what we’re working on, and opportunities to participate in the work of the Overtown Parks Group! The newsletter will be created in partnership with StephanieCreates of the Going Overtown newsletter and website, and will include information on how and when to participate in a variety of neighborhood meetings and events. Click here to subscribe. 

Join Us at Overtown Parks Group Meetings

The Overtown Parks Group will meet at 5:00-6:00pm ET on the third Thursday of every month. Right now, the meetings are taking place virtually on Zoom, but in the future, we hope to host the meetings onsite at Overtown parks. Meetings are open to anyone interested in supporting improvements and services in Overtown’s parks, with a priority on representation from Overtown residents. Subscribe to the newsletter to receive upcoming meeting notices and links, or contact Erika Anderson at promanager@overtowncyc.org to be added to the meeting invitations.

The next meetings will take place on December 1st, and then December 15th. Join us to help shape our priorities for improvements at the parks!

The “Ode to Overtown” Mural

There’s a new mural by Marvin Weeks on NW 3rd and NW 11th Terrace. The mural is called  “Ode to Overtown” and features images representing Overtown’s past, present and future. The mural was created through the Urban Health Partnerships’ Activate Overtown project, and funded by the Allegany Franciscan Ministries. Through community meetings, surveys and engagement in 2019 and 2020, residents identified art and murals as important elements that inspire them to walk and bike through the neighborhood, as well as take pride in the history and culture of Overtown. In response, UHP collaborated with residents and business owners to identify a location, secure additional funding from wonderful partners Allegany Franciscan Ministries, and hire a local artist to take on the project. The design of the mural was shaped by Marvin’s conversations with residents of the building, neighboring business owners and organizations, the UHP Community Liaisons, and youth participating in the Touching Miami with Love and Optimist Club summer programs.

Ode to Overtown is directly across the street from the “Welcome to Historic Overtown” mural, where a significant amount of construction materials and debris had been stored for years, blocking the art. The Activate Overtown team worked with Miami Dade County to remove the materials, so now people can enjoy full view of both murals when walking or biking through NW 3rd Ave. A very big thank you goes out to the team at the Office of Mayor Daniella Levine Cava for being so responsive to this issue. 

Due to COVID-19, we are actively working virtually to stay connected and are temporarily refocusing our activities to best assist the Overtown community during this time of need. 

Opportunities for input on this project will be posted here as they become available in the form of a survey. Have any questions? Please click here to contact someone from our team.

Upcoming Events

Please stay tuned for upcoming opportunities.

Past Events

Activating Miami Communities During COVID-19

Urban Health Partnerships, in collaboration with Community Justice Project, Healthy Little Havana, New Florida Majority, Overtown Youth Center, and the Village of Allapattah YMCA, hosted an interactive webinar, Activating Miami Communities During COVID-19, to inform residents about the COVID-19 resources available to Allapattah, Little Havana, and Overtown communities.

When: Friday, May 29th, 2020 From: 6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m

Where: Via Zoom Video/Phone Conference & Facebook Live

The webinar focused on:

• Housing

• Financial Assistance

• COVID-19 Testing

• Food

• Transit

• Re-Employment Assistance

• 2020 Census Community Hub – Provided live support for completing the census survey

Questions? Please reach out to jesse@urbanhp.org or call (786) 224-2309.

Special thanks to the Activate Overtown project funder: Allegany Franciscan Ministries.

Do you need to know more about housing, financial assistance, COVID-19 resources, food, transit, re-employment assistance, or need help with completing the Census? If you missed it you can:

• Watch the video recap on our Youtube Channel here.

• Read the summary recap here in English.

• Lea el resumen del resumen en español aquí.

• Pou jwenn rezime webinè a an kreyòl, tanpri klike isit la.

Although UHP has declared a work-from-home policy until further notice, the Community Liaisons are still active, working virtually to continue to connect with community members, provide resources for navigating this challenging time, and giving residents opportunities to take action in various ways.

You may receive a call or email from one of the Community Liaisons to check in on you and also share important information about Activate Overtown and the Census.

Please reach out to us if you have questions or want to talk more about your community:

Tranell Harris – tranell@urbanhp.org (Focus: Schools)

Adonis Casanova – adonis@urbanhp.org (Focus: Transit)

Cecilia Stewart – cecilia@urbanhp.org (Focus: Parks)

For further information please contact:

Jesse Cosme – jesse@urbanhp.org

Thank you,
The Activate Overtown Team

Urban Health Partnerships

To discuss more about your community reach out to the Activate Overtown Community Liaisons:

Keith Ivory at ivory@urbanhp.org

For further information contact:

Jen Cheek at jen@urbanhp.org

Wren Ruiz at wren@urbanhp.org