I believe that one of the most understated forms of power we have is our ability to plant seeds of kindness; at home, at work, in our community and in the world.
Today we shine the light on Marlon Hill, a long time PARKner who talks about the importance of Performing Acts of Random Kindness and ...
Building community & a support system
Being civically engaged in local politics
Believing in your power to create impact
Making the time to be kind & VOTE
You can reach Marlon directly on his cell at 305-244-4456 or email at email@example.com
You can support Marlon Hill's campaign in the following ways:
1. DONATE to the campaign 2. VOLUNTEER any time through phone banking and other safe engagement activities - 3. VOTE - recommending that voters choose the safer and convenient method of voting by mail. You must register to vote (update your address or signature by July 20 and request your vote by mail ballot by August 8 at miamidade.gov/elections or call 305-499-VOTE (8683).
Hi PARKer I'm Marly Q and welcome to episode number 15 with Marlon Hill. Our special guest today is a long time PARKner who's passionate about Performing Acts of Random Kindness (PARK) and leveraging the power of music, arts and culture. Marlon Hill is a Miami business attorney with the law firm of Hamilton, Miller and Birthisel, LLP. He has served as the vice chair of the Board of Trustees of the Miami Foundation, a board member of the Miami Parking Authority and advisory board member of the Miami Book Fair International and even PARK Project, our own non-profit, among many other community leadership roles. Continuing his legacy of service, Marlon Hill is presently a candidate for the Miami Dade County Commission District 9 representing the residents of Southwest Miami Dade County. And as we near election day here in the US on August 18, I invited Marlon today to talk about one of the most understated forms of power we have. Let's listen and learn. Welcome to the show Marlon Hill.
[01:15] Marlon: Thank you so much. Thank you for making me the Chief Operating Officer of Awesomeness.
[01:20] Marly Q: Yes, I like that.
[01:21] Marlon: Chief Awesomeness Officer, CAO.
[01:24] Marly Q: There you go. You know how much I like acronyms so don't even get me started there! Our journey began almost a decade ago, can you believe it? We have been PARKners, in awesome crime, spreading kindness for almost a decade. And I will never forget meeting you, kind of in an informal way at an Action Coach business planning seminar. I was just getting started with my business and you with your law firm, and I got to share a little bit about my non-profit and my mission to spread kindness and you approached me right after that, and you're like, "Hey, I'm a lawyer and is your non-profit incorporated? Do you need some business advice? I'm happy to help.". And you gave me your card, I'm like, "Wow, I don't even know that I have a kind awyer in my rolodex, so to speak".
[02:14] Marlon: We do exist.
[02:15] Marly Q: Yeah, thank you. And from that day forward, I mean, not only did you help us incorporate PARK Project, our non-profit, you helped us apply for our 501c3 and get that approved, later on our registered trademarks for our foundation and our 5K PARK Fest and you've just made so much time to be kind to me, to my husband, to our movement and our cause but I'm just so grateful to you, always.
[02:44] Marlon: You know that day when we met, your spirit was just so transcending, you were PARKing your spirit in the room, and it was infectious and inspiring to me and I know that we share similar values with giving back, you know, and I believe-- we both believe, you know, Marly in so much of creating a support system for each other and that's what it means to be kind and taking time to be kind or taking time to PARK yourself into the space, into spaces where you know, you will not even find yourself right? You know, with the pandemics happening all across the world, pandemics of public health, pandemics of social unrest, and pandemics-- all different-- pandemics of economic instability, all these things, create room-- creates a room for kindness, for us to kind of fill a void for each other. And I've always thought, you know, I grew up in a Catholic Church, going to a Jesuit High School in Jamaica, and then when I first came here as an immigrant kid, you know, the Catholic Church taught me so much about servant leadership, and really loving your neighbor and being kind and doing Christ like things. I don't want to necessarily, you know, mean to PARK Christianity into this space but just in terms of general spirituality, it's important for us to see each other, see each other's humanity and to uphold the dignity that each person deserves and that can only happen through kindness.
[04:24] Marly Q: Absolutely. You're absolutely right. And through everything that we've been experiencing, I mean, throughout 2020, like you said, health, financial, social pandemics and unrest, and just so much stress and challenges and these dark times gives birth to a lot of kindness from a lot of people, if we're looking for it. And I think the first place to look for it is within ourselves, right? How can I PARK? How can we be there for each other and connect in such a way, and for me, I follow you on Instagram and I follow the great work that you do, you've been making so much time to PARK and time to be kind for the community. You live in South Miami Dade County, and you've been, you know, helping and volunteering with food distribution and literally going to people's, you know, homes, knocking on their doors and seeing how can we be of service to each other during this time and I just find that so inspiring and such a great example of true servant leadership.
[05:26] Marlon: Every person, irrespective of their stage in life, what they do for a living, I truly believe in the power of one person to PARK, one person to be kind, that one spontaneous random act that's consistently done, whether it's spontaneously or deliberately. I really believe that, you know, the power of the trickle effect of that act of kindness and it doesn't necessarily mean that it happens in a non-profit charitable manner; it could happen in business, it could happen in a place of faith, it could happen where people are in recreational and sporting activities. You know, life happens in its normal flow of things. It's important for us to just be cognizant to the fact that life and history is going to take you in different places and you just have to be ready to kind of like, passing on that love and kindness to people that you know, people that you don't know. And being someone who's a practicing attorney, and now I'm a political candidate for higher office, kindness can happen in politics, kindness can happen in business, kindness can happen, even in social settings, but it's creating that environment around you, when you are expecting that same type of love that you give, right? And it's small things and it could be something that's even transformational.
You know, when we were thinking, you know, the small farmers can't sell their produce, hotels and the restaurants are closed, why don't we raise the money to buy their produce, and then to give that produce to families that need it? And let's call it Adopt a Box. So, each box of produce cost $25. So, you'd PARK $25, you'd buy the produce from the farmers, and then you give it to seniors, veterans and families that need it; that's what it means kind of like create a cycle, a circle of PARK, PARKnering, right?
That's-- you give to receive, and it comes back in different ways and I think that can happen in so many different forms.
[07:49] Marly Q: Absolutely. And looking for that opportunity, not only for you yourself to PARK but how can I encourage other people to, I would call it “PARKticipate” in this ripple effect of kindness and making it easy. Because so many people, I have found, through the more than a decade of doing this civic engagement and volunteer, mobilizing work through events is, so many people want to PARK, so many people want to make time to be kind, they just don't know how. And there's so many challenges and there's so many problems, and there's so many great causes that we can help, but where do you start? And it all feels so overwhelming. So, when you have leaders such as yourself who say, who take the time to think about how can we help those farmers and you come up with a plan, what I would call, a PARK Project, and reach out to other people and say, "Hey, PARKticipate in this PARK Project, you can give back and make time to be kind in this way. Look how easy it can be.", right? And sometimes it's with money but many times, it's with your time. Many times, it's with your other resources, maybe with a certain set of knowledge or skills that you have that you can pay forward and give to others.
[09:00] Marlon: Right. And it doesn't have to be, you don't have to start your own nonprofit foundation, or start a 10,000 people marathon race, it doesn't have to be a big Food Festival in a big city. It could just be a group of family members, neighbors, your PARK Project.
You know, for example, I am planning a PARK Project in the community that I grew up in, South Miami Heights, in July, we are going to just gather members of the community and go and pick up the trash on the main streets on the right away, right? Because you must feel good about the place that you live, you know, in order to give kindness and to give love, you have to create an environment where that love and kindness can be nurtured. And it's not just-- it's aesthetically, it's a mindset, your mental health, it's the environment that you are in, to create that space where love and kindness can just really flourish, where families don't feel that they're in their own bubble of distress and stress and challenges, but they know that they have a community that is enveloped with compassion and empathy and love and kindness that if something happens, like a hurricane, God forbid, or another pandemic, then I can go across the street and often you go, "Hey, Marly, how are you? You know, do you have brown sugar for my brownies?", and I'm just using that metaphorically, right? But rarely, in growing up in the Caribbean, everyone on the block in the neighborhood, they know each other, they're interacting, they're sharing. They are-- the lady down the street can discipline me just as much as my mom, right? But unfortunately, we are not cultivating that type of village, you know, “PARK villages” can have that type of love and kindness that is consistently exchanged between our neighbors and I think we really need to kind of work on that deliberately. Love and kindness is not something that you just, kind of just happen on to, it really takes a deliberate, intentional and purposeful, and it could be spontaneous act, but you must kind of, you have to spark it.
[11:21] Marly Q: And plant that seed, all I hear is you're planting that seed of kindness in fertile soil, and making sure that soil can nurture that seed, and that it's being watered regularly, and you talk kindly to the plants so that it grows. And I think that there's just so much distrust and disconnection from, you know, local citizens and their local governments, let alone national government, that I really admire how you're running your campaign, and I haven't, you're the first, you know, kind of political conversation that, or political candidate that I've ever had on the show, and it really wasn't without intention at all, whether you were running for, you know, Commissioner of District nine or not, I just really honor and admire and respect and value and appreciate your style of leadership because it is inclusive. It is about engaging other people, it is about facilitating conversation and kindness and trust within your neighbors.
[12:26] Marlon: And I really appreciate that, you know, Marly, because, you know, I really see me running to be a Commissioner, not so much about the title and the leadership opportunity, because it's really just an extension of who I am and what I have been doing, right? And it's very important for folks to understand that you really shouldn't be afraid of politics, right? It's not about getting into an argument over an issue or a topic that you may have a difference of opinion of, right? Because we all have different perspectives. But the truth of the matter is that, you are going to need government and government is going to need you in order to deliver certain services on to a community, in order for there to be some level of order and quality of life for people to prosper, and to be more loving and kind, right? Because if you have a community that is distressed or stressed economically, or conflict within family, or a community that looks grungy and dirty, that's not creating an environment of love and kindness. And we drive by communities all the time because our communities are not developed equally. Some communities have more nice-looking trees than others, some communities have more community violence than others, some communities have more folks who are in economic distress than others. And it's not about the type of government, if it's the type of community that we want, do we want happiness and love and more kindness to be spread? Is the answer to that question yes or no?
And if the answer that question is YES, you want the same level of love, kindness and happiness for your community, then you have to start asking you the question, well, who is your community? Right, and am I welcome in your community? And, what do you expect me to bring to your community? Do you expect me to bring anger and rage and, and discontent? Or do you expect love and kindness and happiness in order to make your community better, right? And when we live in a multicultural community like this, we all have different perspectives on the quality of life that we want and what I'm really saying is that, we can't afford to be-- to marginalize each other or to exclude each other-- the same love and kindness that we're going to give to each other's humanity, we may have to work hard or harder in order to spread those random acts of kindness.
[15:12] Marly Q: Absolutely. One of the things that I love about your specific campaign is your slogan, I love, “It's a New Day”. It's a New Day inspires hope, you know, I approach every day with that mindset, you know, it's a new day, how can I be of service today? What impact can I make today? And I think that if we instilled that philosophy, those values in our children, then we would be planting that seed and nurturing that soil and growing and watching our youth blossom into our future leaders, which is people that want to run for government for the right reasons, for the servant leadership opportunity, and we can start to create that kind of relationship between community and government that is necessary in order to, not just improve our quality of our communities, but our quality of life or quality of education, our quality of resources that we are giving and receiving to each other. And I know that that's one of the things that you focus on is youth mentorship quite a bit, right?
[16:16] Marlon: Absolutely. We, you know, you mentioned the whole idea of planting a seed, in South Dade, we have one of the largest agricultural industries in the entire state and farmers will tell you, you can't have a harvest without planting a seed, right? And if the soil is fertile, and we get enough rain, and it's ready to go, let's just plant the right seed because at some point, there's going to be a harvest, a bountiful harvest of your favorite tropical fru
it that could be in the form of love and kindness, right? If you are not tilling the soil, getting it ready, if you are not caring for it over the time of growth, you won't get the type of harvest that you want, right? And I firmly believe that what I'm actually doing as a candidate, and as a county commissioner who can't serve more than eight years now that there are term limits, right? Is that I'm planting seeds that are going to be reaped way after I'm gone, right?
And that could be that young person who is in high school now where12 years from now, he or she decides to come back home from school and wants a leadership opportunity, it could be elective office, it could be serving on a board and it could be just their family PARK Project.
But we must create an environment where every person , Marly, empowered that their PARK Project, no matter how small it is, and it's not a matter of size, it's a matter of impact, right?
You have to believe in that personal impact, in that personal power and I've always tried to reach my-- helping all the young people you know, and the reason why we met that other day is that, as a business lawyer, I believe in helping entrepreneurs, social entrepreneurs or other entrepreneurs, small business owners, to plant their seeds, as part of my part of my farm, and my practice is to watch that harvest at a later date. So, the planting the seed of the trademark, planting the seed of the tax exempt status, planting the seed of incorporation, planting the seed of the public private partnerships that could exist, is an act that could be an harvest, for magnifying what PARK does as a mission, and every person and organization I believe Marly, you have the ability to do that in a community like ours.
You know, so, this election that's coming up on on August 18th is an opportunity for the citizens and residents to, the residents of Miami Dade County to really evaluate the leaders that they're going to choose for mayor and county commissioner and judges and state-- you know, are these the type of persons that are in sync with my values, that understand my interests, that exhibit a certain level of compassion and empathy for a world of love and kindness that I want to see, right? And if we are in sync with that, then you would go and vote for that person. And voting is also an act of kindness.
[19:23] Marly Q: Yes, I wanted you to touch on that, please, let's encourage people, why should they make the time to be kind and vote?
Voting is one of the most understated forms of personal power, that you are giving your interests, your values, your passions to the feet of a person who has that power that you have given them to make decisions on the things that you care about.
So, if you want to live in a community that is comprised of or sparked with certain things that, you want more public parks, or you want more support for after school programs for kids, or you want a more trusting meaningful relationship with your police officers, or you want better customer service when you go to your public health facilities, these are all things that your government can actually impact. So, these are policies and ideas that you will be giving the power to a county commissioner, or city commissioner to decide, right? And it's not just a law, or it's not just money in a budget, it's actually ideas of things you want to see. So, you're giving your vote of your values of love and kindness that will be translated into the services that are delivered to you and your neighbors and your community through government in partnership with you, and that's why your vote is so critical in order to make those things happen, because you don't want the type of leadership that is going to be pursuing policies and laws or the allocation of monies in a budget that are counter to the type of quality of life that you want, and the quality of life that you need for your families, right? So, this is the reason why you can't afford to just discount the fact, well, in the last August 18th election, the turnout was only about 18% Marly and that's unconscionable, right? Because that means over 82% of people decided not to have an impact of creating a community that's filled with resources and ideas and PARK Projects that could improve the lives of people.
[21:50] Marly Q: Yeah, that's crazy. I think-- I'm so glad that you're sharing this because I think that most people maybe didn't just, you know, dismiss the opportunity to vote, maybe they just don't value, or see the value in their right and their power to vote. I think that this is a very important conversation and we have listeners, not just here from Florida and from Miami Dade County, but from all over the nation and even the world now, we have some international listeners as well as we're getting this podcast started, and just wherever you are, it's so important to be, to get educated, not just on the issues that matter to you and be clear on your values and what's important to you and what you want in your community, but actually make the time to be kind and do your research on the candidates and their values and their platforms and go out there and vote and I think that now with the pandemic and COVID, I hope that that doesn't reduce our voter turnout.
[22:46] Marlon: We have vote by mail, you can vote through mail. So, vote by mail is a very important option, you can do it safely, you can track your vote by mail, like an express mail package to make sure that it's actually received and processed, right? You can vote early, which is two weeks before August 18, right? So, wherever you are voting, your vote is really an important statement of you standing in your space and saying, "My voice matters and I want to ensure, collectively with all the voices, that I have my say on where I would like to see the community, the direction and the community go.", right? Why would you give that up and not have a say? It's just like being, starting your own PARK project, right? You're making a decision to stand in your truth and to spark PARKticipation, right?
You are standing in your truth and no matter how you view your project, whatever your random act is, that spark is similar like a vote, right? And then when it has a ripple effect Marly, it's like a tsunami, after that goes out, right? You know, once you have that random act, voting is just like that, right? So, just think about it like your group of friends and your family. Just, start small and have a conversation about, "Okay guys, you know, I live in Doral or I live in South Dade. You know, or I live in Atlanta, or I live in Bogota, and I want to see this change, right. Just, I want to see this change.". And then you say, "Okay, what are you going to do to see the change you want? What are you willing to do? Are you willing to start a PARK project? Are you willing to start an advocacy group? Are you willing to have a letter writing campaign to the elected leaders? Are you willing to raise money for a particular issue?". There are number of things you can do to see the change you want, but it's not just going to happen just by you wishing it to happen. You must have-- you can't be expected, or you have to step in-- when you PARK, again, it's purposeful.
[25:00] Marly Q: Yeah, it's action statement, it is very purposeful.
[25:02] Marlon: It's an action statement. And voting is an action statement, right? And you know, so the deadline to register the vote is July 17th here in Miami Dade County, right? You have to be 18 years old, and a US citizen, you get your voter registration card, you can request your vote by mail online, you can request by phone or fax, the ballot comes to your home, and you do your research, you fill out the ballot, you put it in the sleeve, and you seal it, and you ensure that you sign the envelope and you drop it in the mail, the postage is already paid for, it's free. You go online, and then you check to see when it's received and processed and then that your vote is counted. And then, you'll see on August 18th whether or not the persons that you supported, by yourself or you do it as a group, because each candidate needs as many votes to win, right? So, I need 50% plus one votes to win in my election in district nine, because only if you live in district nine, can you vote for me, but everyone votes for the mayor. And wherever you live in the world or wherever you live in the state, you have to do your homework as a citizen to understand what is the extent of your power and who are your choices, this is very important for you to really have the support you need for your PARK Projects.
[26:27] Marly Q: Absolutely. Where are you placing your trust and your values? Who are you passing that on to help create that ripple effect that you want in your community? Thank you so much for walking us through that process and educating all of us listening. I will make sure to include links in the show notes to help people register to vote and do their research and include the link to your awesome campaign page as well, that has so many resources for people to benefit from.
[26:55] Marlon: And if anyone wants to PARK anything with me, whether as a small business idea or a social entrepreneurship idea or even something related to the community or politics, you know, feel free to give me a call myself, the 305-244-4456. We're creating a community of support, we're creating a community of resilience and whether we do that through politics or whether we do that as just PARKners, I think that's, at the end of the day, that's what it's really all about.
[27:26] Marly Q: Absolutely. I hope that you are just proud of the seed that you planted almost 10 years ago and how it's evolved into this podcast and what we're doing now. Thank you for offering your cell phone number.
[27:42] Marlon: Extremely proud. No, no, thank you so much.
[27:44] Marly Q: Yeah. And just always being there, always being a PARKner. So, thank you so much for offering that to so many people. We appreciate you.
[27:52] Marlon: Thank you so much and have a blessed summer.
[27:55] Marly Q: Thank you, likewise.
[27:57] Outro: I'm so grateful to have had the opportunity to shine the light on a great example of servant leadership and the power of planting seeds of kindness in your life, at home, at work and in your community and the world. To connect with Marlon Hill, learn more about supporting his campaign and registering to vote in the upcoming elections, visit malrlyq.com/15.
[28:21] Thank you for listening. If you're inspired to make a little more time to be kind, please subscribe, leave a kind review and share with a friend who'd appreciate this podcast too. Thank you for being the spark of kindness. See you next time! [28:32]