Justice for Black Americans Is Justice For All Americans

The need for MCARE was catalyzed in 2021 by Miami’s burgeoning affordable housing crisis and the City’s aggressive efforts to criminalize homelessness. Recognizing that Miami-Dade County’s homeless population is 60% Black, yet Blacks represent less than 18% of the overall County population, it is clear that homelessness policies are in fact racial policies.

MCARE is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit multiracial coalition of organizations seeking to advance social justice in Miami-Dade County. We view public policy through a racial equity lens: virtually all public policies either advance racial equity or increase inequities.  Our MCARE Board of Directors — composed of student leaders, human rights lawyers, physicians and social justice advocates– reflects our richly diverse, multiracial Miami community. MCARE serves as the South Region Field Office for the National Coalition for the Homeless.

“When you blame victims of homelessness you take the focus off the structural issues that cause homelessness.”

David Peery, MCARE Founder and Executive Director

MCARE Board of Directors

David Peery, MCARE Founder, Chair and Executive Director

Despite having a law degree, David Peery found himself homeless and living on the streets of Miami due to a bizarre intersection of a false arrest, unlawful self-help eviction, the loss of all of his possessions, and a job lay-off during the height of the 2008 recession. It became clear that homelessness isn’t due to personal irresponsibility, addiction or mental illness, but is deeply rooted in racism and our societal failure to ensure that housing is a fundamental human right. David became the federal class representative in the Pottinger v City of Miami consent decree that protected rights for unhoused persons in the City of Miami. He is active in several social justice and national homeless rights organizations, including serving as co-chair of the National Consumer Advisory Board for the National Health Care for the Homeless Council. David has a law degree from George Washington University and works as grant writer and health care
regulatory compliance consultant.

Adrian Madriz, Vice Chair

Born in New Orleans and raised in South Florida, Adrian is a community organizer by trade, with political, campus and non-profit organizing experience. His past causes include both of Barack Obama’s Presidential campaigns in Florida, student organizing at the Episcopal Chapel at the University of New Orleans and Housing Organizing in Liberty City through the Miami Workers Center. Through his housing organizing, he has become a local leader on the issues of gentrification and slumlords, and on the technical aspects of affordable housing development for extremely low-income residents in Miami. In addition to his role with MCARE, Adrian also serves as Executive Director of SMASH Miami.

Matthew Marr, Secretary

Matthew D. Marr, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of Sociology in the Department of Global & Sociocultural Studies and the Asian Studies Program at Florida International University. His research focuses on homelessness in the US and Japan, exploring how urban marginality is shaped by social conditions operating at multiple levels, from the global to the individual. His first book is Better Must Come: Exiting Homelessness in Two Global Cities (Los Angeles and Tokyo) published by Cornell University Press. At FIU, he teaches courses on urban sociology, research methodology, and Japan to stellar undergraduate and graduate students.  

May Rodríguez, Treasurer

Maybelyn Rodríguez Laureano, known as May Rodríguez (pronouns she/hers), is a dedicated community advocate privileged to serve as the Executive Director for the South Florida Community Development Coalition (SFCDC). She brings to the coalition 10 years of nonprofit resource management and development experience. Prior to joining SFCDC, she served as the Director of Philanthropy for Florida Rising, a nonpartisan statewide political organizing nonprofit. May serves on numerous civic, social, and political organizations and boards, including the National Alliance for Community and Economic Development Associations (NACEDA), Miami-Dade County Affordable Housing Trust Fund Board, and the newly established Miami-Dade County Building Blocks Fund Advisory Council.

Miss Mai

Ms Mai has been a sex worker and organizer for over a decade. They began organizing for animal rights and found their way into racial justice as well as sex worker rights advocacy. They founded Decrim 305 in 2020 to decriminalize sex work in Miami-Dade County, which sponsors the annual Slut Walk Miami event to raise awareness on decriminalizing. Empowering the community is a true passion of Ms Mai and they won’t stop till they’re six feet under.

Stephen Schnably, Esq

Stephen J. Schnably is  Professor of Law at the University of Miami School of Law, where he teaches and writes in the areas of constitutional law, property, international human rights law, and criminalization of homelessness. He was a cooperating attorney with the ACLU in Pottinger v. City of Miami. The Pottinger consent decree, approved by the federal district court in 1998, modified in 2014, and terminated in 2019, has been hailed as “the gold standard” in civil rights litigation to protect the constitutional rights of homeless persons. He currently works as a cooperating ACLU attorney in other matters relating to the criminalization of homelessness, including challenges to anti-food sharing ordinances.

Sabrina Hennecke

Sabrina Hennecke is an MD/MPH candidate at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, McGill University graduate. She has extensive experience in nonprofit and NGO policy work for Health Action International, based in Amsterdam, where she was a member of the Snakebite Team. There she worked to educate and lobby political leaders for awareness and action on snakebite envenoming – a World Health Organization “Category A Neglected Tropical Disease.” As a University of Miami medical student, Sabrina has co-founded a number of activist organizations including Miami Street Medicine that serves unsheltered persons living on Miami streets. She has authored several newspaper OpEd articles raising awareness on issues that impact underserved populations. Sabrina aspires to become an Emergency Medicine Physician, working in the NGO and/or policy sector.

Kat Duesterhaus

Kat Duesterhaus (they/them) is an activist and community organizer with more than 7 years of experience working freelance in digital media. Kat is passionate about Equity and Housing Justice, and has lived the experience of being homeless. Kat is active in a multitude of social justice organizations including Florida N.O.W., RAINN’s National Speakers Bureau, Florida Council Against Sexual Violence, and the Sexual Assault Response Teams of Palm Beach, Martin, and St. Lucie County. Kat also brings a track record of legislative successes that include Donna’s Law, Gail’s Law, as well as diversity to our Board as a member of LGBTQ+ community.

Cortés Marià Lewis

Cortés Marià Lewis is a serial AdvocatePreneur™️ with over thirty-five years of advocacy experience. She lives by the motto, “Be Healed Be Delivered Be Free.” Her greatest accomplishment to date is conquering cancer after her diagnosis in mid March 2013. Cortes is the owner and Chief Motivational Advocate for CMLEnterprises, LLC Advocacy Consultants, which was birthed as she publicly lived her prison testimony, being a domestic violence survivor and conquering cancer. She is also a servant leader, advocacy aficionado, spoken word artist, motivational speaker, activist, organizer, and returning citizen. She is the President of Women’s March Florida, and the Director of Advocacy at Women’s March Miami. She currently sits on the board of Dignity Power, Inc. providing guidance to the CEO and the community. As an advocate and former healthcare practitioner, Cortes serves on the Fatal Infant Mortality Review Team and Domestic Violence Fatality Review Team & Child Abuse Death Review Team here in Miami-Dade County.

Xavier Lopez

Xavier Lopez is a passionate social justice advocate who also chairs the MCARE FIRE network of young advocates under age 35.  As the FIRE Chair, Xavier coordinates networking, peer support and educational activities intended to mobilize the next generation of social justice advocates.  Identifying as Latino-Caribbean ethnicity, Xavier graduated Magna Cum Laude with a bachelor’s in Political Science and in International Affairs from Florida State University.  At Florida State, he interned for a Parliamentary Representative in the United Kingdom and for a Congressional Member in the United States. As a research assistant for World Voices Media, he compiles, analyzes, and interprets data about socioeconomic issues ranging from immigration to COVID-19 into easy-to-read research reports. 

MCARE Intern: Raphael Liy

Raphael Liy is a photographer and aspiring journalist studying Political Science at the University of Central Florida. He is based in Fort Lauderdale, FL where he mentors robotics students at Dillard High School and provides equitable STEM education to students in low-income areas by introducing project-based learning, devising solutions to closing the achievement gap, and by providing more hands-on experience in the form of robotics. He teaches his students to create and implement social media campaigns that promote the team, thus preparing them for future careers in communication and content creation. Raphael has journalistically photographed and written about reproductive rights protests, gubernatorial campaigns, and protests against recent book bans across the state.

Let’s build something together