This is bad. This is really, really bad. I mean this is worse than I could have imagined for Blacks of every walk of life in Miami. On Tuesday, Nov. 19, the Board of County Commissioners embarrassed the rank and class of Miami Gardens by sustaining Mayor Carlos Gimenez’s veto of their votes to protect Miami Gardens from racing. By doing so, Gimenez sent a clear message to the Black community: We don’t care what your county commissioner says, or your city council, or your grassroots coalitions. We are in charge.
This was one of the worse votes taken in the history of the Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners. A vote so bad that it’s almost certain to ignite a cultural divide that Miami hasn’t seen in decades. A vote that spat in the face of the pride of Black Miami by essentially ignoring every ounce of its local government and grassroots activism collectively. An unprecedented consensus against a race in their backyard, disregarded in a theft of democracy – by a show of force that exposed a corrupt government. This is Miami-Dade County.
Carlos (Fidel Castro) Gimenez continues to insist that he speaks for Miami Gardens residents, in full knowledge of the fact that there isn’t an iota of support for this race in Miami Gardens. Is everybody wrong, Carlos? In his veto message, he even bewailed the commission auditor’s rebuke of the race in the city, while asking for more time to “negotiate.” But as Commissioner Barbara Jordan warned the Dolphins, the county and all other enemies of the community, its time to, “Get Ready!”
And I believe that its long overdue: a fight, an opposition, a boycott, a walkout. A stand. And when we stand, let’s make it big enough to address the past 30 years of votes, referendums and charter used against us. A stand that pulls us up from the mud and turns our hands upright from asking, to taking what is ours.
Like the taking of our small businesses; the taking of big business out of our community; the taking of quality education; the taking of affordable housing; the taking of public housing; the taking of our children’s lives; the taking of our dignity; and crushing of our spirit. Presidential candidate Donald Trump infamously taunted during his campaign, “What else do you have to lose?” But what that phrase really exposed was that there was nothing else left to take. They’d taken it all, and now all that we have left is each other.
Emerging from the bare knuckles of our barely conscious collectiveness is a faint light in the distance that’s fading fast. A second wind in a race that’s all but called in the enemy’s favor. One last play before the game ends. Maybe the 2020 Legislative session could see legislation that shows Miami-Dade County how to support its own. And maybe as Miami Gardens gets ready to stand up against the Dolphins and Gimenez’s father and sons private investment interests, we should take a moment to do some in-house village cleaning of our own.
When Art Teele ran for county mayor in 1997, I remember a door-to-door campaign so organized and intense that it almost pulled the upset of the century for Blacks in this town. But from that time to now, many laws and charter changes have been put in place to neutralize and pacify the community. But one thing’s for sure, if we don’t fight like its 1997, the only thing that we’ll be “getting ready” for is the America of 1921.