We had the good fortune of connecting with John Buckley and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi John, how does your business help the community?
CAOBA helps our community as well as the world by diminishing the stigma around same gender loving men of color. An empowerment, leadership building and social incubator program with inspiring speakers, themes, creating safe spaces where we can be authentically & organically educated & encouraged. CAŌBA strives to build Camaraderie, Trust, Pride, Social Ties, Friends, Family & Tomorrow’s Leaders, TODAY.

Growing up as an only child, I didn’t have many people to talk to other than my mother & father. It was even harder when I began to recognize that I was also different than the other boys I was normally around. It took me years to finally figure out my sexuality and be comfortable in my own skin. Looking back I will always have childhood friends that have stuck by me to this day and I consider family because they choose to accept me for who I am and have seen me live in my truth. What’s even more crazy to me is that some feel I have lost my faith or have strayed down a path unworthy of the love of God when in this very moment my faith has been the anchor that’s kept my life together at the lowest of lows & highest of highs. I made a choice in 2011 after losing my father to brain cancer to relocate to South Florida in search of clarity, peace, & a new beginning. Then in 2014 I was introduced to Unity Coalition where I had the opportunity to really get involved in our LGBT community through Volunteering, Advocacy, Social Action, & Civil Rights.

Unity Coalition I Coalicion Unida has given me the opportunity & experience to grow as an individual, peer, & leader. Other than the Kiki Project which was out of Broward , we realized there was a need to create a space for same gender loving men of color where you can meet, socialize, and see everyday men you could relate to, share stories, be acknowledged for the positive work we do in and around our communities. CAOBA was born in 2019 and since then has done a variety of Programing free to the public such as:

Being Out, Proud and Black in America

Hyper Sexualization of Men of Color
Too Femme, Too Masc, Too TOO: A Community Discussion

Black, Gay & Proud – A Celebration of the life of BAYARD RUSTIN

William Dorsey Swann Night @Hampton House (Celebrate Orgullo)

Melanated, Motivated, & Moving Forward – Panel Discussion & Fashion Segment in partnership with Empower U Community Health Center

Covid & Cocktails – Virtual Get Together

The Cookout in partnership with Hotspots Media

CAOBA Pool Party Series

Undressing The Adult Sex Industry Part 1 & 2

Aids Walk Miami

Ft. Lauderdale Caribbean Pride

Wilton Manors Stonewall Pride

Black Lives Matter March on Wilton Drive

In 2021 Unity Coalition & CAOBA were grantees of ViiV Healthcare Positive Action for Latinx Men Grant which allowed us to create one of our most important projects today – The CAOBA Archives, which is the video documentation of extraordinary same gender loving men of color. Our stories and experiences are important. They can inspire the generation before us as well as the generations when we are long gone. This project will live forever on our Unity Coalition Page & YouTube. The 2nd Premier of interviews of our own South Florida communities is around the corner and sure to surprise, inspire, & motivate ALL to be their best. The future is very bright and we look forward to continuing to be a staple in the our community & world.

Stay connected & follow us on IG (@caobaunity) Facebook (@CAOBAUC) & (@UnityCoalitionCoalicionUnida)

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
When I am not volunteering my time with UC/ CAOBA you can find me at my home away from home – Miami Design District.

I am the Sales Supervisor at RIMOWA (Luxury German Luggage Brand apart of LVMH)

Travel changes us. It gives you an experience of a lifetime and expands our horizons. Nothing is more important when your away from home to know that your are traveling with luggage you can depend on. RIMOWA has mastered Aluminum & Polycarbonate suitcases and the service & expertise you experience when you walk in our doors is comparable to none. RIMOWA is very family oriented in our culture & inclusive to all which sets us apart because of our people.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Miami is full of adventure, food, culture, & events to attend!!!! Some of my favorite places include the Rubell Collection, Wynwood Walls, PAMM, ICA, Vizcaya, The Biltmore, Tea Room at East Hotel, Cauley Square, Architecture of Coral Gables

Some of my favorite spots to eat include Como Como, Sugar, Pink Taco, Coopers Hawk, Coyo Taco, House of Mac, Mandolin Bistro, Luca Osteria

You can find me hanging out at Soho House, Pilos Wynwood, Nikki Beach, Skybar Miami Beach, Beaker and Gray, Broken Shaker

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Special Thank You to

Herb Sosa (Mentor & Family)
UC Colombia
Kishi Chad
Melba De Leon
LaTonya Hopson
Ederick Johnson
ViiV Health Care

Community Partners:

Ambiente Magazine
Care Resource – Jon Walsh
Empower U Community Health Center – LaMar Mcmullen
Hollywood LGBT Council – Jeff Oliverio
Hotspots Media – JB Menz
Outshine LGBTQ Film Festival
Happening Out Television Network
CP Productions
Erick Astorga Photography
Anthony Winn Entertainment
Sizzle Miami – Dwight Powell
The Historic Hampton House
Gramps Wynwood
The Villian Theater
Top Notch Sports & Fitness
UJIMA Collective
The National LGBTQ Task Force
MSM Advisory Board/ Florida Department of Health
South Florida Gay News – Jose Cassola
Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau

All of the Volunteers who help run our events

Cast of The CAOBA Archives – for your transparency & authenticity

Alain Marquez (My Partner) for your unconditional love & support.

Website: unitycoalition.org

Instagram: @job954 (Personal) @caobaunity @unitycoalition @jb.mdd (work)

Image Credits
Cedric Roberson @ced_the_photographer (ig) Melody Prevost @aestheticallymelo (ig) Tamara McLennan @styled_by_queent (ig)

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutMiami is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.