John Brown was a football star at Homestead High School and was all-county.
He went on to play college football at Pittsburg State in Kansas where led the team to a National Division II championship.
In 2014, he was drafted in the third round by the Arizona Cardinals. During the 2015 season, he had 65 receptions for 1003 yards and seven touchdowns. The Cardinals made it to the NFC championship game but lost to the Carolina Panthers.
Brown has played for other NFL teams. He is now with the the Buffalo Bills and has enjoyed success in professional football.
But his half-brother, James Walker, also a top player at Homestead, was shot in July 2010. He died from his injuries in April 2011 and never realized his athletic potential. James had played football for MidAmerica Nazarene University in Kansas.
To honor his brother, John Brown would always purchase a ticket for his brother wherever he was playing in college and professionally. It always had to be seat 5 which was the number James wore in college. His death left a void in Florida City and Homestead.
Cheryl Walker, an aunt of John and James is working to do something positive in memory of James. This will be the 12 year anniversary of his death and Cheryl will lead a remembrance celebration at Loren Roberts Park on February 4th. She is working to stop senseless killings and to prevent gun violence.
“This will be a celebration and we will let the youth know the effect of violence and the fact that this violence needs to stop. We will have aggrieved mothers talk to the youth and we will serve them food. They will meet football players and there will be various activities,” said Florida City Vice Mayor Walter Thompson.
Thompson has coached football and led the offensive line at Homestead High School when both James and John were on the team. John was a receiver and James played safety.
The South Dade Connections recently had a business luncheon at the Youth Center in Florida City. It was a collaboration among the Florida City CRA, Miami Bayside Foundation and South Dade Connections. More than 100 business owners came together to discuss networking that can be done to help businesses in Florida City.
“If you live or work in Florida City, we want to encourage people to use
businesses in this area. This is what we do. We want kids to see that you can be a business owner. We want to do positive things in Florida City and Homestead,” said Thompson.
Cardelle Hayes, the president of South Dade Connections wants to help small businesses in Florida City and Homestead succeed. “We are focused on helping small businesses in our community. We have moderators and panelists come and speak about what it takes to sustain a business and gain
resources for a business,” he said. “Mayor Otis Wallace and the entire Florida City Commission participated. Homestead Vice Mayor Julio Guzman and Council Member Jenifer Bailey came.”
The luncheon was catered by Top Taste Jamaican Restaurant and the desert was provided by Sweet Delights.
“We want small businesspeople to know about tax credits, networking and other information about growing a business,” said Hayes.