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 michalehepburn.com or connect with him on Facebook.
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