Monday, August 18, 2008

The Sound System

Nineteen years ago I ran for city council against an incumbant. He quickly dropped out, so "mission accomplished!", but I ended up losing to another newcomer, the owner of a local radio station. North Miami back then was getting an influx of new black residents, and most of them were relatively recent Haitian immigrants. At the time the gentleman in the photo, Jacques Despinosse, was a leader in the local Haitian community and he asked me about my feelings about blacks in general and Haitians particularly. I told him about working for the Florida Courier, a black paper, nearly twenty years earlier, how I'd photographed Haitian "boat people" arriving, how I'd been Congressman Bill Lehman's photographer for decades and how he'd done so much for the Haitians arriving here.

I guess I passed the test. Jacques and I became friends and he was very active in my campaign. If only more of our Haitian community had been able to vote back then. Oh well. It helped Jacques consolidate his power base in the city, and he became well known and respected outside of the Haitian community as well. A few years later he threw his hat in the ring and filed to run for city council. He had no trouble getting elected.

North Miami has a portable stage and sound system which is used for all sorts of events around town. Jacques and I have one unique thing in common, at least here in South Florida. We like to get places on time, even early if possible. Here we are, the stage isn't fully set up as yet, and we were wondering if the rain would hold off. It did. Mostly we just talked about out how anybody could possibly make heads or tails out of that birds nest of cords and cables connecting multiple microphones to the amplifiers and speakers. Well, somebody did! Everything worked just fine.

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