When Miami Dade County Commission Chairwoman Audrey M. Edmondson along with Commissioners Esteban L. Bovo Jr., Daniella Levine Cava, Sally Heyman, Elaine Higgins, Xavier Suarez, Rebecca Sosa, Jean Monestime and Dennis Moss voted on a bundle package without any discussion on July 10 they basically told Black Miami, with their nine pairs of their hands and 18 middle fingers held up and pointed in the air, to kiss their behinds.

Their vote basically eliminated funding for crucial research that studies and reports on race-based economic and social disparities throughout Miami-Dade County. This important research was conducted once every 10 years by the Miami-Dade Economic Advocacy Trust (MDEAT), formerly known as MMAP (Miami Metro Action Plan), which was created in 1983 in response to the May 1980 rebellion, forever infamously known in Miami (and throughout America) as the “McDuffie Riot.” The McDuffie Riot of 1980 was sparked by the unprovoked beating death of former U.S. Marine and Miami businessman Arthur Lee McDuffie by several local, white, police officers. And it was MDEAT, the agency founded in the name of justice for Arthur McDuffie, that recommended that funds for the crucial disparity study now be terminated.

John Dixon, who is the current director of the MDEAT, should be fired and the 14 board members, Carol Hindsman, Cheryl Mizell, Dr. Tisa McGee, Elbert Waters, Erbira "Erbi" Blanco True, Hannibal Burton, James Bunyan, Julio Piti, Katrina Wright, Khaled Salahuddin, Lonnie Lawrence, Michelle Plana, Renatta Delgado and Sheldon Edwards should be removed, based on how they voted in this matter. Those Black representatives on both the Board of County Commissioners and MDEAT who supported terminating funds for this study should have their “Black cards” revoked.

I can’t wrap my head around how wicked the thought process of members of MDEAT’s board of directors and their top administrator must have been if their logic was to "lessen the load" of collecting data on disparity as a reason for halting the study. And for the Board of County Commissioners to support their foolish recommendation without any public input prior to the clerk calling for the vote looks as suspicious as an individual holding a shot gun in plain sight, wearing a full-body fur coat in 100-degree weather while standing outside of a bank. Now you know that ain't right.

To complete a full-scale disparity study every 10 years at a cost of $350,000 breaks down to a yearly average of $35,000 a year. That’s pennies in a bucket to a county, which has a $7-billion annual budget. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to understand that Blacks have not and are not getting their fair share of county contracts, county jobs, private employment or entrepreneurial investment dollars. It’s as if some think we don't contribute to the tax rolls of Miami Dade County.

The county conducts over $200 million a year in construction activity and Black contractors are not getting a fair percentage of those dollars nor are Black people given ample employment training and placement on these job sites. In fact, I'm quite sure that if a disparity study was completed on all county departments, there would be significant disparities found in its hiring and firing practices as well.

Can we expect an agency like MDEAT, that’s funded by the county, to collect data on the county and not be put in a compromising position? There was a time and a generation of leaders who could do just that. They were the activists of old, the original keepers of the MMAP mission. They are a breed of dying lions who are being replaced by sheepish activists in fear of a retribution that may never come (that needs to be studied too).

It's amazing how we're being played by our own people – people who seem to have allowed a Willie Lynch mentality to set up shop in their heads. But what our leaders have failed to realize is that when corrupted thoughts and actions dwell within, that corruption not only corrupts their being, but it also corrupts the land and people under their rule. Proverbs 29:2 guides that, “When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.” To gauge who and where your leaders really are concerning you, simply ask yourself, not if, but why are you mourning.

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