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Sandrell Rivers Day

Sandrell Rivers Day celebrates not only Chief Sandrell Rivers’ birthday (August 10, 1947, in Miami) but also her tireless efforts in bringing the arts to her hometown — most notably to the black communities that, through systemic racism and oppression, were often denied exposure to the arts. She did this primarily through her role as an arts administrator for Miami-Dade County’s Parks and Recreation Department, a position she held from 1988 to 2009. But she also did this through her lifelong dedication to the arts, having studied, taught, and practiced acting, dancing, singing, and directing in theater, film, television, and radio. 

Through her efforts and her many powerful connections, Chief Rivers brought such acts as Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, Hugh Masekela, Isaac Hayes, and many others to the Joseph Caleb Center for the Arts in Miami. And in her many travels to Europe, the Caribbean, and Africa, she worked hard to support the African Diaspora in South Florida. In fact, because of her work in supporting and promoting African arts and heritage, she was conferred as a Chief by a Nigerian dignitary in 2004. Although she died on January 1, 2010, Rivers’ legacy continues. 


We are committed to carrying on in her legacy by throwing a party every year for Rivers’ birthday, a tradition that brings people together to celebrate the arts.

Sandrell Rivers Award

Each year, as part of Sandrell Rivers Day, FTF selects a community leader upon which to bestow the Sandrell Rivers Humanitarian Award. This award is given to a person who embodies a spirit of dedication to the community, whether in the arts or in other important areas of civic life.

2021 winner: Latousha Daniels, president, and CEO of Miami Children’s Initiative (MCI).

2020 winner: Dr. Larry R. Handfield, Esq., of The Handfield Firm.

2019 winner: Leroy Jones, an executive member of the Circle of Brotherhood.

2018 winner: Marshall L. Davis, Sr., managing director of the African Heritage Cultural Arts Center.

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