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  • Noelle Barnes

You Didn't Come This Far to Only Come This Far

If the last four years have taught me anything, it can be summed up by a quote from Plato: "One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.”



During the Obama administration, many of us relaxed. We put Barack dusting dirt off his shoulders on repeat as a viral meme, and found ourselves collectively dusting our own dirt off, in solidarity. As if that one carefree swipe had finally brought great change to this country. Our country.


We were reminded, swiftly, that America’s institutionally patented brand of blue-blooded trickle down structural racism had certainly not gone anywhere. Neither had the deep-rooted social, economic and environmental weeds, choke-holding our health and well-being. In fact, when the GOP’s largely successful anti-Obama obstructionism reared its devil’s horns adorned head above the pews of Congress, we felt a newly minted level of desperation stoking ancient fires beneath the confederate’s depleted lineage.


We felt as if, politically, we had amassed a certain level of power that would ensure a continued expansion of our rights and political agency. A cog in the wheel of a bullet proof limo type of political machine, which many of us now perceived as a kind of self-driving vehicle.

But self-driving vehicles actually do not exist. The truth about these autonomous aka “driverless” cars that combine sensors and software to control, navigate, and drive a vehicle, is that currently, there are no legally operating, fully-autonomous vehicles in the United States. There are, only, partially-autonomous vehicles, which still require oversight by a human being. In fact, when we do finally develop a so-called “fully-autonomous” vehicle, human beings will still have to actively contend with the great equalizer of every vainglorious artificially intelligent pursuit—cybersecurity.


Point being, now that the Trump administration has been given its walking papers, and the Biden/Harris administration has been elected by the people to lead our nation forward, we cannot afford to treat the administration as an autonomous vehicle. Miami Gardens has voted former Vice Mayor Rodney Harris as our new Mayor-elect. Linda Julien, Shannon Ighodaro, Shannon Campbell, Robert L. Stephens, Reggie Leon and Katrina Wilson currently hold Councilmember seats. But it is “We” who must continue to take part in the governing process by holding these new leaders accountable. Holding leaders accountable is how we helped elect Danielle Cava the first female Mayor of the most populous county in Florida.

Many of our readers are, thankfully, already quite active in their local political scene. However, there is always room for growth when it comes to ensuring our elected officials are working for us and ours. Below is a list of ideas for getting involved, staying involved, and deepening your involvement in charting a measurable course for progress alongside our local, regional and national leaders.



1. Learn about your local elected officials’ stance on the issues that matter to you, and don’t hesitate to reach out to them if you need urgent attention to problems affecting your community. From flooded streets, to exorbitantly priced utilities, whether you voted for them or not, your elected leaders have been chosen by the people to provide answers and solutions to everything from basic neighborhood safety issues, to more complex economic development challenges. Calling and emailing our local elected officials if we have concerns is part of our civic duty. At the very least, make a plan to attend in person or virtual meetings held by elected officials and their staff. We've compiled a list of upcoming meetings below to get you started:

City of Miami Gardens Council Meeting

Council Chambers

18605 NW 27th Avenue, Miami Gardens, FL 33056

2nd and 4th Wednesday of Every Month

7:00 PM - 10:00 PM

Next Meeting December 9th. View the Council Meeting agenda here.

Subscribe to the YouTube Channel for the City of Miami Gardens public meetings here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCc5HrhAo_huvHpCqHGqNVyg

Miami-Dade County Board of County Commissioners' (BCC) Meeting

Miami-Dade Commission Chambers, located on the Second Floor of the Stephen P. Clark Government Center

111 N.W. First Street, Miami, Florida, 33128

Next meeting will be held on Tuesday, December 15, 2020, at 9:30 a.m.

For more information, contact Daysha McBride at clerk.Board@miamidade.gov or 305-375-1293


2. Apply to join City and/or County advisory boards to ensure your voice is heard. By seeking an appointment to an Advisory board, you will gain the opportunity to advise your districts City Councilmember or Commissioner on important community issues relating to the board on which you serve. There are currently 90 active Miami-Dade County Advisory Boards; for a complete list, visit http://www.miamidade.gov/district02/library/active-boards-list.pdf. Active City of Miami Gardens Advisory boards and Committees include the Elderly Affairs Advisory Board, Commission for Women, Citizens Advisory Council, Veterans Affairs Committee, Bond Oversight, Keep Miami Gardens Beautiful Advisory Board, and Nuisance Abatement Board among others. You can applying learn more via this link: https://www.miamigardens-fl.gov/DocumentCenter/View/3991/Advisory-Board-Application-2020-PDF?bidId= (Please note that not all County/City Advisory Boards may have vacancies at the time of application.)


3. Currently, Joe Biden and VP Kamala Harris are interviewing candidates to fill vital positions in their administration. They are also drafting policies to put in action their first day of office. Activist Shaun King and his team at the Grassroots Law Project have created racial justice policy demands for the new administration that focuses on executive actions and decisions that will not require a democratic majority in Congress. “While we, too, are working for that majority, we refuse to accept it as an excuse for inaction,” explains King. Visit BidenJusticeDemands.com to read these policies, understand them, and fight for them.


4. Learn more about the Georgia Senate races and how you can help influence the balance of power to benefit you and yours in the United States Senate! There’s something you can do from anywhere: https://www.mobilize.us/dailykos_2/?org_ids=3510&link_id=0&can_id=7cccd8e490699b765285341e1dd84096&source=email-one-month-left-make-calls-to-georgia-voters-with-a-2020-victory-before-time-runs-out-2&email_referrer=email_1016020&email_subject=deep-voter-outreach-is-how-we-win-heres-how-you-can-get-involved

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