MIAMI – In celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, the Miami Dolphins hosted its first FOOTBALL UNITES™ Cultural Tour Presented by Baptist Health of the 2019 season on Tuesday, Sept. 10. Miami Dolphins players Dewayne Hendrix, Jonathan Ledbetter, Jamiyus Pittman, Isaiah Prince and Christian Wilkins, alumnus Donald Brown, cheerleaders and staff spent the day in Miami with local youth, community leaders and law enforcement to experience the richness and diversity of South Florida.
"The concept is bringing the community together, players with nonprofits, students and with all the great organizations that the Miami Dolphins support through FOOTBALL UNITES™ and of course, that includes United Way," President & CEO of United Way Miami-Dade Maria C. Alonso said. "Who we are as a community is such an amalgamation of different communities so many heritages, so many cultures and I think as one, we all bring our own strengths to it and I think then we immerge stronger together. I congratulate the Miami Dolphins for uniting the community and helping build community. I think the more we learn about different cultures, the more we see the commonalities that bind us and then we can immerge together."
On arrival, the group participated in a #DolphinsHuddleFor100 service project packing hygiene kits as part of a Hurricane Dorian relief effort to experience working together in a teamwork setting.
The tour, in partnership with History Miami, Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau, started with a guided exploration through the Cuban Diaspora Museum. Participants received a history lesson on the heritage of Miami followed by a salsa lesson in the Celia Cruz Theater and an opportunity to try Celia Cruz's favorite dishes. The group then visited Domino Park in Calle Ocho and concluded with a walk to Ball & Chain to experience the area's history, food and culture.
"We went to see Celia Cruz at an awesome museum, we learned salsa dancing, got to eat some cultural foods and really just bringing all types of people together on our off day just to give back and learn more about the community," Miami Dolphins Defensive Tackle Christian Wilkins said. "We all live in this community, we are all part of it so just to learn more about the folks and what makes Miami, Miami, is pretty cool. Hispanic Heritage makes up so much of Miami and a lot of our fans are of Hispanic Heritage so it's important to focus on those areas and try to be a part of it and learn as much as we can."
"As they say, FOOTBALL UNITES™, and through football we can share our common culture and I think it is a great experience especially for us to be able to show them warmth and welcome them into our home and culture hoping that through that they will feel loved and welcomed," Executive Director of the Cuban Diaspora Museum Carmen Valdivia said.