Whether it’s mobilizing Blacks to the polls or honoring leaders in the community, Attorney Marlon Hill is always out in Miami’s neighborhoods championing a cause.
Since he arrived to Miami from Kingston, Jamaica in 1985, community service and politics have become a part of Hill’s life. That activism has helped shape Hill into a dynamic civic leader who has established social and political ties to influential figures in South Florida and the U.S., including President Barack Obama.
Hill started in 2001 a tradition of honoring Black community leaders during Black History Month. The 11th annual commemorative Black History Month Award is bestowed on Marleine Bastien, a devout advocate for immigration and human rights. It will be conferred to Bastien, founder of Fanm Ayisyen Nan Miyami/Haitian Women of Miami, during a Feb. 26 ceremony, which starts 6:30 p.m. at Yeelen Gallery, in Little Haiti, 294 NW 54th St. Past honorees include founder of the Black Archives Dorothy Jenkins-Fields; Director of the Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami Babacar M’Bow; former Miami-Dade Commissioner Betty T. Ferguson; John Kozyak, Miami-Dade Commissioner Dennis C. Moss, U.S. District Court Judge Marcia Cooke and Monica Russo.
“We wanted to do something that recognizes individuals who have contributed to the community and the African Diaspora,” Hill said, who recently merged his delancy/hill law firm with Hamilton, Miller & Birthisel.
Hill’s activism also includes helping put the first Black U.S. president in office. When he learned that Obama was running for president in 2007, Hill joined Obama’s Florida fundraising campaign and held events to register Blacks to vote. During President Obama’s re-election bid in 2012, Hill used his creativity and pulled together DJs and top local chefs to hold special events in Wynwood and the Design District as part of a voter registration drive.
Today, Hill considers Obama a friend, whom he met at The Miami Book Fair in 2006. But Hill says his main concern is stressing community service to others.
Hill mentors law school graduates and help them gain opportunities in law firms.“It’s important that young Black professionals carve out time that is personal to them to serve the community,” Hill said. “You just can’t work in a vacuum.