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Community Activist Demands Miami Commissioners Give Residents A Chance To Elect Their New City Commissioner

This contentious presidential election showcased how vital it is in our Democracy for the  will of the people to be heard. One of the most important tools our citizens have access to is the power of  their Vote and the notion that our City Commissioners may not respect that power – is unfortunate.  

Due to the upcoming vacancy of out-going City of Miami Commissioner Keon Hardemon (recently elected  as a Miami Dade County Commissioner for District 3), in six days – the four remaining Commissioners  have a crucial decision to make. City of Miami Charter gives the Miami Commission ten days starting on  November 17, 2020, to either appoint someone to fill the vacancy or to call for a special election – so the  residents of District 5 can choose their next Commissioner. However, residents are becoming very  concerned that the Commissioners are considering appointing someone, instead of calling for a special  election for the only majority Black district that exist within the City of Miami.  

One voter even stated “How can the four non-Black Commissioners even ponder the idea of selecting  who will represent us.”  

I understand the arguments on both sides, some Commissioners may feel that it’s not worth the cost to have  a special election, especially since we are currently facing a budgetary deficit and still navigating COVID 19 recovery. However, if we truly do believe in Democracy – what price are you willing to put on allowing  our people the opportunity to vote for their representation. What circumstances are okay to impede the right  for people to Vote, since so many have advocated, marched, been beaten, and have died to access this  precious gift.  

As a native son of Lemon City who has resided in Miami for 30+ years, and has championed affordable  housing, economic & workforce development, safe & secure neighborhoods, and high-quality education  for all of us.  

This age of time demands nothing less than our City Commissioners voting to Give Us The Ballot.

This Op-Ed was written by Michael Hepburn, pictured below. He’s an educator, mentor, community activist and District Director of Operations at Progressive Turnout Project. To learn more about Michael, visit his website or connect with him on Facebook.

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