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Residents of Dade flocked to congressional ‘speakout’

By Jimmie Davis, Jr. – The Westside Gazette

The typical town hall meeting draws very little attendance, and are quite tedious – but add a little pizzazz where the discourse is about the lack of jobs here in Miami-Dade County and you will have a packed audience.

That’s what a Miami community organization did on July 16 at Miami Dade College North Campus Lehman Theater where 580 livid residents showed up at the congressional “speakout” to un-leash their frustrations over the job situation in Dade County.

Even before the event kicked off there was standing room only.

The message was loud and clear – tells U.S. Reps. Frederica Wilson, Ted Duetche (FL) and Raul Grijalva (Ariz.) that people in Miami need jobs.

“Give us jobs,” cried out Na-dine Taylor, a Liberty City resident. “I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired.

Taylor says she loves her neighborhood, but it’s a shame the community is in the condition it’s in.

She told members of congress her area is not getting their fair share of federal funds that’s coming from the Transit Village.

Wilson responded by saying that Liberty City residents should have jobs at the transit center.

“I’m here to hear your story,” Wilson said. “I want you to get as angry as you want Tell us how this is affecting your family and community.”

Wilson might want to be a little more careful in the future of asking her constituents to display anger because Tyrone Greene, 49, owner of Greene Dream Shoe Repair hurled a grenade and blasted the county for trying to evict him.

He says his family has operated the business for 50-years and he’s not about to allow the county to purchase the property under the fair market value.

Greene says his case is in litigation and it didn’t have to come down to this because County Commissioner Audrey Edmunson should have came to area businesses and informed them that the county wanted to purchase the property for a transit hub.

“If the county is a slumlord who do I report it to,” asked Greene? “Edmunson is a crook.”

At this juncture it became very intense to the point of Greene’s stirring up audience members. Finally someone just came up and took the microphone from him – but he continued telling Wilson about his ordeals with the county.

Ronald Fulton, 48, a quadriplegic came to the meeting to tell members of congress that employers are discriminating against persons with disabilities.

Fulton says that it’s a shame the way that potential employers pit disabled individuals against one another.

He admits it’s a struggle with day to day operations with things like getting dressed.

“I need help putting on my clothes,” said Fulton. “I try to be self sufficient, but I had to ask one of my family members to come and stay with me. There should be a better way.”

Baliston Elidor, 57, says Notre Dome Church where he’s a member transported in three bus loads to the meeting, and that the majority of people he brought was in search of employment.

Grijalva and Duetche said they would deliver the message that Miami residents told them about the need of jobs back to their colleagues when they return to Washington D.C.

“We have to dig ourselves out by putting people to work,” said Grijalva. “When people are working they earn money and they feel more secure.”

Miami is a new coalition of community groups, neighborhood associations, faith organizations and workers united to bring good jobs to Miami.

Miami has brought together what other organizations haven’t managed to do in their town hall meetings and that is bringing a melting pot of diverse racial populations of Blacks, Caucasians, Cubans, Haitians and Jamaicans under one umbrella.

Jose Suarez, director of communications for 1Miami says that when the budget gets cut people start to worry about how they are going to manage with less money.

“We are here today to bring the community together under one voice,” said Suarez. “We need to create good paying jobs for the residents of Dade County.”

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