Equitable Initiatives

Leading the Charge

Equitable Art


The Department of Human Services leads the charge in addressing disparities in human and social services in the City of Miami by ensuring that everyone is connected with resources and services.  Our dedicated team is committed to bridging the gaps and dismantling disparities, ensuring that every individual is empowered with the necessary resources and services to thrive. With a relentless pursuit of equity and inclusion, we are at the forefront of championing change, working tirelessly to connect, support, and uplift our community.  


EMPOWER60 started off as a 4 week academy in each of the five (5) districts in the City of Miami designed for older adults, residents ages 60 and above to learn the best practices of engaging and working with local government. The program provided a weekly virtual course for two hours and is facilitated to help participants increase resident engagement; educate neighbors about local government’s role and impact; and promote engagement and service deliveries of governmental services.

EMPOWER60 is now offered as a 4-hour course, instead of a 4 week program. Centering around creating individual civic engagement plans, topics include public safety, clean and beautiful neighborhoods, growth and development, education and economic access, culture and recreation, and efficient and effective government. After successful completion, participants will be invited to a virtual City Commission meeting where they are awarded and acknowledged for the completion of the academy, receive a stipend, and will have the opportunity to put the skills learned into practice.

To learn more, email humanservices@miamigov.com

Accelerate Change Together is an initiative focused on addressing health inequity in the City of Miami LGBTQIA+ community and supported by The City of Miami, Urban Health Partnerships and the CDC. The goal is to strengthen the community’s capacity to collaboratively plan and collectively carry out strategies to close the Social Determinants of the Health equity gap, thereby improving the health of the LGBTQIA+ community.



Inclusive Arts Miami (IAM)
In our unwavering commitment to equitable opportunities, we proudly unveil the latest subdivision of our Equitable Initiatives, Inclusive Arts Miami.

The Arts Initiatives were born out of a vision to enhance the quality of life for all Miami residents. We believe that art has the extraordinary power to unite, uplift, and inspire, transcending boundaries and backgrounds. Our objective is to make arts accessible to all, guaranteeing that artistic and cultural opportunities are within reach for every individual in our community.

Our mission is to enrich the lives of our residents and foster inclusive opportunities for our community to engage in the vibrant world of arts and culture. With a special focus on empowering emerging local artists and generating positive socioeconomic change in our most vulnerable populations, we're committed to transforming Miami into a thriving hub of creativity.

Leading the Way in Equity
The Department of Human Services stands at the forefront of addressing disparities in human and social services. We are the bridge that connects individuals with the resources they need to thrive. Our unwavering pursuit of equity and inclusion drives us to champion change, working tirelessly to uplift our community.

Creating a Positive Socioeconomic Impact

Art has the unique ability to transform not only individual lives but also entire communities. We envision vibrant neighborhoods, enriched with the beauty of art, revitalized and rejuvenated through creative expression. Through strategic interventions and innovative collaborations, we aim to create new artistic circuits within our city, making art accessible to all.

Empowering Emerging Local Artists
We are staunch advocates for our local emerging artists. Through the Arts Initiatives, we are dedicated to promoting the available resources and opportunities that will enable our talented artists to flourish. By offering mentorship, platforms for exhibition, and avenues for growth, we empower the artists who are the heartbeat of our cultural landscape.

“Together, with our community, partners, and the Arts Initiatives, we are crafting a more vibrant, equitable, and culturally enriched Miami. Join us on this transformative journey as we paint a brighter future, one brushstroke at a time.”

The Age-Friendly Initiative (AFI) is a collaborative effort focused on creating a community where older adults of all ages can stay active, engaged, and healthy with dignity and enjoyment.

Take the City of Miami Age Friendly Survey:




The mission of the City of Miami’s LGBTQ+ Advisory Board is to serve as a vehicle for systematic and periodic assessment and to advise the City of Miami commission for the betterment of quality life of all LGBTQ+ residents and visitors to the City of Miami with mindful care for providing a voice and platform for underrepresented individuals and communities.



The Community Relations Board bridges a critical gap in the citizen’s access to government services and provides a voice to those citizens to inquire about plans for the city and the potential impacts to their families. This “traveling road show” holds back to back meetings, rotating between the City’s 5 Commission Districts to discuss unique concerns of each neighborhood. Previously invited guests include City Departments of Police, Code Compliance, Solid Waste, Parks, and other intergovernmental agencies such as Miami Dade County and the Florida Department of Transportation.



The Miami Arts and The Arts & Entertainment Council (or MAEC) serves in an advisory capacity and makes recommendations to the Mayor, City Commission and City Manager regarding endorsement or support of specific art and entertainment special events, performance and productions throughout the City.  The board also coordinates with City departments, as appropriate, and local artists to promote and engage local artists in cultural and entertainment and activities within the City.



Michael Roman Headshot

Michael Roman, mroman@miamigov.com

Michael Roman plays an important role in managing initiatives and creating strategies that have resulted in innovative approaches to community development projects that promote social change and healthier neighborhoods. Michael oversees Community Partnerships, Policy & Strategic Development, and the Opportunity Center and is also Liaison for the City of Miami’s LGBTQ+ Advisory Board.


Michelle Varas Headshot

Michelle Varas, mvaras@miamigov.com

Michelle Varas joined the City in 2015 and is currently the Administrative Services Manager.  She is equipped with nearly two decades of professional government expertise, along with certification from the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP), she focuses on community engagement, through Program Development, and Municipal Legislation. As a graduate of Florida State University she holds Masters Degrees in both Urban Planning and Public Administration.  She has also been recognized as one of Legacy Magazine South Florida’s Black Leaders of Today and Tomorrow.