When women of color are involved in leadership, our community is better off for it. For the last 25 years, Miami-Dade County has had the voice of women of color on the County Commission. That has resulted in decision-making that reflects the wisdom and compassion of women as mothers, sisters, daughters, cousins and aunties, the bedrock of our community.
This year, we are facing the risk of having the voice of a woman of color silenced from the County Commission. Gepsie Metellus is the only woman of color left in contention for a commission seat. She is running to represent District 3, which includes Overtown, Little Haiti, Brownsville, Allapattah, Wynwood, Liberty City, Bay Point, Morningside, the upper east side, El Portal and Miami Shores. Gepsie is woman enough for the job and we need her to carry the torch. I wholeheartedly endorse her. She is also endorsed by my colleagues, Commissioners Barbara Jordan, Sally Heyman and Jean Monestime. Like me, they know the importance of having the voice of a woman of color in the room when important decisions are being made.
As one of only two Black women to serve as Chairwoman of the Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners, I don’t take my position regarding the importance of women of color at the table for granted. Over the last 15 years, I have worked hard to serve the underprivileged and minorities in our community. My experience as a woman of color instilled a perspective that was different from that of my peers. It led me to champion better policies to support kids, families and women. For example, I had the county administration secure a firm to conduct a full disparity study of Black-, Hispanic- and women-owned business participation in the county. I worked hard to revamp Miami-Dade’s small business programs to make them more effective for small minority-owned businesses. I championed the creation of a promising gun violence initiative as well as the establishment of the Miami Children’s Initiative (MCI), a program modeled after the Harlem Children’s Zone, aimed at helping Liberty City children from cradle to adulthood, and in which I serve as an ex-officio member of the board.
Not having the voice of a woman of color on the County Commission would be a disaster in ways seen and unseen. Miami-Dade is rich in diversity and it is critical that we have a county commission that is representative of all our communities, both in gender and in race. Our county does not need to roll back the progress that women have fought for and earned. Gepsie is an advocate for women. She is a mother, she is a leader and she is committed to making our community better.
Women are the backbone of our community and deserve a place at the decision-making table. We need someone in office who understands our issues and needs. We need a commissioner with the heart to ensure that everyone in our community feels taken care of. I trust Gepsie to uphold my legacy of fighting for the community while honoring the heritage of all women of color across the county. That is why I am supporting Gepsie as my successor. She has been an active member of our community for more than 30 years. She co-founded Sant La, a nonprofit that connects our vulnerable residents to free services, jobs, health insurance and financial assistance.
Gepsie understands the needs of District 3 and she will work to address the challenges working families face every day. She has the vision and fortitude to tackle the most important issues in our community: climate change, housing affordability, traffic congestion, equity, prosperity and public transportation. We need a commissioner we can trust to put the people first. Gepsie has the character, integrity and experience to stay loyal to the common people. Gepsie Metellus is the champion District 3 needs and deserves. She has my full support.