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Updated | Gay activist Herb Sosa: South Beach a 'war zone;' demands end to Urban Weekend (with video)

Update (9:41 p.m. June 1, 2011)

BY STEVE ROTHAUS, srothaus@MiamiHerald.com

Since Monday, about a half-million Gay South Florida readers have viewed Herb Sosa's open letter to Miami Beach Mayor Matti Herrera Bower, the Beach commission and "concerned citizens" about Urban Weekend.

Sosa says he's shocked that the blog post went viral, thanks in great part to it being a lead story on The Drudge Report.

"It went crazy," Sosa said Tuesday morning. "People are pissed off. They're upset, What's the right way to take care of the city?"

Sosa, president of Unity Coalition, Miami-Dade County's leading Hispanic gay-rights group, said he's concerned some people have called him racist, after he demanded an end to Urban Weekend.

"It has nothing to do with racism," said Sosa, who lives in South Beach. "It's a lack of respect for the city they're visiting. It's as simple as that. This morning, there were six cars parked on my block with their mirrors ripped off, their antennas ripped off.

"The suggestion that this is a racist issue ... is absolutely ridiculous. If anything, the city of Miami Beach as been more than accommodating to Urban Weekend."

Sosa, an activist who once was executive director of Miami Design Preservation League and the Art Deco Weekend Festival, has asked residents to attend Wednesday's Miami Beach Commission meeting to voice their opinions about Urban Weekend.

He may not be there, however.

"This is not about me," Sosa said. "I'm not sure if I'm going to go the commission meeting or not. ... Yes, I'm passionate about this but it's not my sole cause."

Original post (10:04 May 30, 2011)

An open letter from activist Herb Sosa, who is president of Unity Coalition, Miami-Dade County's largest Hispanic gay-rights group:

Esteemed Miami Beach Mayor, Commissioners & concerned citizens.

Please view the attached YouTube video (one of many) already posted for the world to see, about Memorial/Urban Weekend 2011 in Miami Beach. http://youtu.be/cjxxGBJmOqQ

It shows our city as nothing short of a warzone - Filthy streets, a drive by shooting, multiple cars crashed in the process, and total chaos on the streets. This is unacceptable and must be controlled before we totally lose our city, tourism & residents. It is not limited to Ocean Drive or Collins - there isn't a residential street in South Beach not affected by tons of garbage, crime to our vehicles, excessive noise 24 hours a day, and simply a lack of respect for our community, citizens & property. THIS is the image the world see of our "American Riviera".

When did perceived political or social correctness override the safety & well-being of a community? This is not a race, economic or ethnic issue, it is an issue of visitors who have a total lack of respect for our community, its property & citizens. I know hotel rooms are filled, but at what price and for how long? How many events, meetings, conventions & vacations have been CANCEELLED because of this nightmare we endure each Memorial Day? Almost everyone who lives her that I know, get out of Miami Beach for Memorial Day - including many of you - because of this unruly & dangerous mob that we seem to invite back every year and turn a blind eye to the irreparable damage they leave behind.

If this was PRIDE weekend, The Boat Show, Fashion Week or Art Deco Weekend - would we allow this to go on each year? I am certain that if the real numbers of cost & crime are compared with like events we host throughout the year - Memorial/Urban Weekend is tenfold the headache, cost & damage of any of them. IS IT ALL WORTH IT FOR OUR CITY MANAGEMENT?

I am not willing to wait another year to see how many more people will be killed; how many more hotel rooms will be trashed; how many more cars & homes will be broken into; how many more residents need to leave in fear of hide in their homes for their safety; how much more police, fire rescue, sanitation & additional security dollars need to be spent to try & keep our city safe & livable for all each Memorial Weekend? - a Hell of a way for Miami Beach to honor our soldiers. Every resident & voter I speak to mentions Memorial/Urban Weekend as one of the top major problems our city has, when considering elections & our leaders - PLEASE TAKE NOTE, make the difficult but correct decision to put an end to Urban Weekend in Miami Beach and help us SAVE OUR CITY. We are not Disney or Universal. We cannot close a gate at night & go home. We ARE home, and inviting & accommodating the world to come and share our paradise - not destroy it and hold us hostage in the process. Unruly and unlawful visitors are NOT WELCOME in Miami Beach.


Herb Sosa

Miami Beach, Florida


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Ignorance like yours is why this eventful weekend is looked down upon. First off...you can't end an event that isn't sanctioned by the City. This is probably the only event that has this many people and is successful that does not have any city of Miami support...probably because they are black...let's just be honest. The violence of ONE person or TWO does not dictate the entire weekend. Yes a shooting happened...it happens. doesn't mean blame all of the "urban" people. White people like you are a waste of sperm. I'm proud to be white but you make us all look bad with nonsense like this.

Well,every black man,woman..in south beach for the weekend is a terrorist
im an older black male,would visit pakistan before i visit sobe..super hostile territory.
the people are already hostile toward you from the beggining..please stay away..consider the bahamas,jamaica,or some other controlled area to have your party...


Multiculturalism... had enough yet?

This is the future of every big city in America if non-white and 'turd' world animals are not evicted.

...and yet,Miami IS superior to ALL other Florida cities(according to the hoodies manifesto).We ran this mess OUT of Jacksonville in the nineties.

sosa,im ashamed of you.
im a black gay man,he is my g-card.i can no longer support you. you are a race baiter
i thought youd want to talk solutions.
now the the oppressed want to speak as an opressor.
now all those people are bad....same game....just a gay boy sounding off

I call for all residents with firearms to man your post. If a car is drives by pass pass midnight with loud music, shoot out their tires, fire a few rounds at the radio. If you hit them so what. If you see a gang fighting or being a nusance, shoot at them, aim blow the waist, maybe blow off their gonads so they cannot populate. Enough BS, shoot to mame. Let's take back our city.

Memorial weekend is great for the Keys - full of South Beach residents spending their money!

They need to end Urban Beach Week, this is ridiculous. They bring too much crime, it's dangerous! Enough already.

about 8 years ago my family, which included 4 and 2 y/old daughters, planned a weekend in Miami not knowing it was the weekend of this event. We were staying just north of South Beach and upon arriving to our 4 star hotel our bell hop flat out told us, "don't even attempt going into the heart of south beach". I will never forget lounging by the pool surrounded by nothing but 'gangstas' talking on cell phones, playing music, girls dressed liked hookers and 'F bombs' being drooped within 2 feet of my daughter. I even said something to guy dropping these 'F bombs' and the look on his face was as if I was from another planet. It was as tho this type of talk was so normal in his world and probably in the home he grew up in he couldn't understand what the problem was... I LOVE Miami, but will NEVER go on this particular weekend. It was bad 8 years ago, I can't imagine how much worse its gotten since.

many blessings to the 99% of the wonderful black male and female party goers who behaved under the hostile and super negative energy in sobe(towards them)people there have pushed hate and intolorance in to the universe,i wish to push love and peace to you!

please take your party elsewhere..please..im tired of the negativity of this classless area sobe...

Ronald Ernest Paul
contagious courage

Wheels keep turning
Something's burning
Don't like it but I guess I'm learning

Miami Beach needs to take a page from Daytona Beach . Every year Spring Break came around and destroyed the city and it's image. Finally people became fed up like we are. You know what they did?: They announced Spring Breakers were no longer welcome there and made sure it was applied. "Urban Week" was begun via college newspapers geard toward the black community and it is through those same publications word should be spread Miami Beach HAS CANCELLED URBAN WEEKEND. no permits should be issued for street closing like todays ocean drive closure. Sad but true - this event is not working. Who exacally is in charge of Urban Weekend anyway ???

This is the kind of society, liberal political correctness, not my problem, non-judgmental, don't offend people, entitlement attitude, and don't forget it's someones fault but mine or ours, has created. Great job you libs, you created your toilet, now live in it. Maybe strong and truly enforced border laws, and a national language law would be good and actually help unite instead of divide. I say send in Sheriff Joe let him clean up the mess you created, at least he is from the government you libs should support that.

I urge everyone reading this to contact Mayor Matti an the other board members soon. I am.

First, you sound like the white people who fled South Florida after the hispanic invasion. Ironic. South Beach promotes itself as the "hot latin " party central complete with illegal drugs. And you complain about noise and crime? Get real. Ban South Beach.

Second, Spring Break and Urban Weekend seem about the same in terms of noise, chaos, mess and crime. Ban Spring Break.

Third, South Beach was safer before it went Hispanic. Ban Hispanics. ("It's not about race, its about safety." rings kind of hollow when the finger points in the other direction doesn't it?)

Fourth, South Florida's violent crime rate is among the highest in the country. Banning Black sponsored events from South Beach won't solve that. Ban crime by locals before you scapegoat out-of-towners.

Fifth, we are still the narcotics distribution capital of the country. Figure that out as well.

Hip hop sociopath animals, with a racist attitude - direct from adjacent or nearby neighborHOODs.


I lived near Virginia Beach years ago when Black Fraternites decended on it over Labor Day. Hotels were destoyed, businesses looted. It was like a war zone. Fortunately the city council brought an end to this with increases police patrols. No city needs these types of mob scenes, I don't care what color you are.

Gee I wonder what is gonna happen in Miami if the Heat win the NBA championship?

Move to San Francisco,...lots of (fill in the blank) and the homeless everywhere are so drugged out they are not dangerous.

It is about race if one race is doing it dont shy away from it just because you dont like what it means. The truth and the facts dont lie. If large numbers of young blacks show up its going to get freaky real quick its just because it keeps happening over and over and over yet people want to think if you rename it "Urban" or something other hip it will change it but it wont. I stay away from large numbers of young black people because I have seen enough of what happens when they are around.

we live in an armed society. nobody wants to talk about the asinine gun laws here. People get shot at all the time down here. we reep what we sow.

Why is there such an organization as "Unity Coalition, Miami-Dade County's largest Hispanic gay-rights group"? Does Florida have any Athlete's Foot Rights Groups? How about a Tooth Decay Rights Group? Baldness? Incontinence?

Being "gay" is simply a minor defect. Why is it even being celebrated, let alone being given some imaginary rights?


This reminds me of the "celebration" that used to happen in Atlanta yearly "Freaknik" . http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freaknik ...

Of course, the wikipedia version does not portray how bad it was, political correctness run amock....

I find it disturbing that Herb Sosa is in a leadership position of Unity Coaltion which according to its website is:

I escaped Miami 23 years ago after growing up there, and moved to California. Now I have watched the entire state of California become Miami-ized.

Upon retirment, I'll take my money, and escape again. So sad, all of it. I worry about my kids.

The TRUTH of the matter is that its not about race, but about CLASS. I partied hard on South Beach in the late 90's during this weekend and it was a nice, fun time and the crowd was large. It was mostly working to middle class people there. Fast forward to around 2003/2004-ish when the ghetto thugs caught wind it became what it is now. Middle class black people like me wouldn't be caught down there during Memorial Day weekend now. It's gotten too thuggish. Stop stereotyping because its about CLASS, not race.

Some points:

1) impose a $1,000.00 littering fine per incident, with discretion from the judge,and have cops enforce it.

2) These are your Democrat Voters. Welcome to the poverty and depravity that much of the rest of urban cities endure every single day. Why should South Beach be any different?

3) Vote out democrats in all urban areas who need these mobs to win elections.

4) Where you have trash like this you have Democrat voters as these people expect the rest of us to wipe their butts and pick up their litter.

I think Sosa's "Unity Coalition" is a farce.

URBAN???? What does that mean,I mean REALLY mean?Substitute GHETTO-meaning GHETTO culture,GHETTO VALUES,ghetto behaviours.Ever been in an "inner city" ghetto? This is purely a CULTURAL problem gifted to US,the whole country, by the 'great society".No time to go into that here,but blacks are fine most other places.I live in a very muti-racial neghbourhood.No racial problems,no NOISE problems.The little black and white kids play together w/o a single prob.The long-time LEFTIE city gov't in MB is too spineless to confront this (to them) hot potato.Virginia Beach,VA.,has a BLACK problem too,but not to the extent of MB.I used to go to MB SEVERAL times a year,but the crime and general aura of actual danger just has changed the place into a no-go zone.I go to Saint Augustine instead. By the way,I'm multi-racial and care not a farthing for ones RACE-it is their VALUES that matter.

Police make huge overtime on this event. They don't live in Miami Beach so they couldn't care if this event returns or not. Major reason why this stuff continues.

Hey just read a bunch of these posts a lot of you guys are really racist!!!

All of your arguments are based on wild assumptions, and bias. Has anyone ever heard of a fact or maybe doing a comparative analysis of events and crime.

I've lived on the beach for many years, and I'm no fan of any of the events, but using this one horrible incident as a megaphone for your racist tirade is also very offensive, and inappropriate

I'm resident of SoBe and a MB gov official (Andy not my real name). While I respect and understand Herb's passionate call for change, one must undersand (especially on Memorial Day), the freedom bestowed upon ALL citizens. Urban Week is not a city-sponsored or supported event, therefore, it's freedom being exercised by the promoters, sponsors, etc. The best way to end this event (without taking away an individual's freedom of expression) is to hold the promotors/sponsor/producers accountable for ALL costs associated with the event: $1M for law enforcement; and property & commercial liability insurance to protect residents and business owners. There are many other approaches from a pay to visit SoBe approach that will result in the event organizers taking their party else where.

Looks like Atlanta and Freak-Nik in the early 90's

I'm a resident of South Beach (Collins at and 13th). Bottom line, thinking about moving out and renting my place. This will add more renters, less owners, to a community already suffering from flight. Call it any issue, color or race you want... these city thugs coming to the beach, hanging out, undisturbed (actually solicited via this Memorial Day insanity), will accelerate the city's decline. That will eventually diminish tourism, revenue, jobs... all bad. How in the world is this potential future even worth the city sanctioning such an event??

This probably does not end well for blacks.
The recent spate of videos are only the public side of a long trend. For years youtube has had many videos of black violence. The theme is usually multiple attackers on one victim, and as often as not, the victim is stomped and kicked when already prone or unconscious.
One can blame poverty, or the multi-generational poisoning of blacks against their 'oppressors', or IQ, or testosterone, or whatever you like, but the simple fact is that the average black (particularly males) is more inclined to violence and more likely to have no pity for their victim. Insert obvious, obligatory "not all blacks are like this".
The same government which has so ruthlessly restricted fundamental individual liberties has great tolerance for freedom of movement on the ground, so that communities like SB cannot screen who comes into their town. That won't last. As austerity becomes reality, an attitude of zero tolerance for crime will become prevalent.

If the 'just in time' food distribution system breaks down (or if the power grid fails, or widespread riots break out), blacks will find themselves in a particularly bad position. The society has not missed the fact that many young black men are inclined to violence and lack any useful skills. Those who are not attached to or trusted by members of other races will find it difficult to find safe harbor in a time of greatly heightened distrust.
The videos of truly barbarous behavior, the reports of communities overrun by thugs, the over-representation of blacks among violent felons, and the media/government supplication to blacks - all of these things become part of Americans' consciousness, and when fear becomes a part of daily life for other reasons, most Americans will have no time or tolerance for the fear of black youth.
It's painful to write this, but it's true, and blacks should think about it. It's not too late, if you think you'll find yourself on the outside of everything, looking in, to find a way in. Church is a good place to start, and humility is the first step.

I totally Agree with this letter and I support it.
I used to live in Bay Road for 4 years and every year during memorial weekend I had to leave my apartment to Kendall or other area away from the Beach, and each year people get killed. One time even in Lincoln Road 2 years ago, one of my favorite places across from my apartment. It's true there are many other events like WMC but believe me during that I don't see the type of violence I see during Memorial Weekend in SoBe. There isn't anything race related because, its just FACTS! Each year is the same!

A little history: this event used to be held in Atlanta. Which, as a reminder, is as black as Miami is Latin. They experienced the same: rape, murders, mayhem in the streets, etc. One year they even closed down Lenox Mall due to obvious issues.

Atlanta leaders had the courage to stop the event and craziness. Miami leaders need to do the same.

Sad when Herb Sosa, of "Unity" decides to write a letter to the MB city commission to outlaw a segment of our society from visiting Miami Beach. There was a time when many felt the same way about gays. I for one would love to see Herb Sosa removed from the Unity Coalition.

Cuban racist. Very funny. Despite 250 years of slavery, 100 years of Jim Crow and being bombed and lynched for the right to be human in America, not a single African American has ever burnt or desecrate the American flag while singing a foreign Anthem on American soil. Like you Cuban criminals did over Elian Gonzales. Gays, lesbians, muslims, illegal aliens and the so called trans gendered all hijacking black civil rights to gain rights in America. In the name of some phobic propaganda. But have no problem trying to impose or engage in brutal racism towards African Americans. Mr. Castros garbage Sosa you don't have the right to deny African Americans. This is their land and their house. The only right you have is to shut your doors and not do business. If you don't like African Americans delta leaves everyday. Pack you bags and go back to Cuba we don't want you here.

Herb, nice job giving the racist and bigots a platform. What was organizations name "unity"...hardly. You stink! Please resign your post as head of Unity.

I just finished writing an email to the City of Miami-Beach in regards to this news. As a resident I am embarrassed and would have never endorsed this event. My hopes is that the Mayor and the Commissioners can find other ways of generating revenue for the City without having to subject it's citizens to such conditions. You can complain directly to the Mayor's website at:

Gays. Lesbians, Illegal Immigrants are quick to align their struggles with Martin Luther king and civil rights struggles but have no problem trying to deny and violate the people who died for civil rights. Mr Herb Sosa needs to learn from recent history. Maybe America should have banned Cubans for turning Miami into a "war zone" over Elian Gonzales while burning and desecrating the American flag while singing the Cuban anthem on American soil. Maybe America should ban Cubans from refusing to learn English and assimilate. Or coming to America shout freedom and liberty but the next day engaging in widespread nationwide Medicare fraud that amounts to nothing more than financial terrorism. It is sickening to watch the parade or arrogance and injustice.

Gay = Censor the truth.

Wow - a gay/racist activist. I am all for gay rights and the rights of others to have a good time whether they like urban beach week or winter party or whatever. This activist's logic is twisted. If you follow herbert's logic, why doesn't the city shut down all the nightclubs and bars that cater to gays and straights cuz of drugs/violence - remember jersey shore?, put up DUI checkpoints every night on the McCarthur to end the deaths from drunk driving, shut down club space - wasn't a white lady killed at club space. This is like the logic of people syaing that if there was public transit like light rail to south beach it would bring in all the homeless and riff raff - god forbid - get over yourself - support a homeless shelter, and african american center, and a gay and lesbian center.. violence can be attributed to all kinds, notjust those who frequent urban beach week.

‎"Memorial Day used to be a solemn day of mourning, a sacred day of remembrance to honor those who paid the ultimate price for our freedoms. Businesses closed for the day. Towns held parades honoring the fallen, the parade routes often times ending at a local cemetery."

I posit to you, then, that urban weekend is -- in fact -- a restoration of the traditional day of observance and a visceral reminder of the original meaning and spirit of Memorial Day that has since faded from the public consciousness

This is the "racial diversity" that all of you Liberals voted for.

How do you like the "change"?

"#1 We can't carry guns on the planes"

These fools are driving in from out of town. We stopped going to Miami on memorial weekend a few years ago because of this. The race baiters will call everyone a racist for even saying the don't like crims and thats just too bad.

For those of you that don't want crime to return to your city, now is the time to take a stand and let the city know that you won't tolerate this mess anymore. Anyone remember the early eighties down there? Thats where this is heading.

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