Grief and Repudiation
Vol. 1, No. 29 June 4, 2020
THIS HORRIBLE WEEK
Except for replying to one person, I have not made a lengthy public statement about what has happened to an innocent man and the peaceful demonstrators during this past week. In a way, that is because I'm afraid that anything I say will sound trite. The problem is, for me, that every time I think about this - George Floyd's death, the harm to peaceful people, the behavior of the President - my eyes well-up with tears. I repeat here my response to a comment:
"I have no easy words to say to anyone about the violence and ugliness of this past week. I abhor violence whether it is to innocent or to possibly guilty people. That goes for violence between white and white, brown and white, black and white, brown and brown, black and black, or any shade of skin color with any shade of skin color. Violence between people who have different religious beliefs, different cultures, different ages, different languages, different sexual identities - it's all abhorrent. Violence against property is also inexcusable and awful.
"I am going to quote the most eloquent and moving (for me) words I know about violence:
'The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it. Through violence you may murder the liar, but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth. Through violence you may murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact violence merely increases hate. So it goes. Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.'"
As very small gestures that reflect my position about the need for care-full preservation of peace and the right to peaceful demonstration, I sponsored two resolutions this past Commission meeting that got the support of the rest of the Commission. The first was to proclaim that the first Friday in June - tomorrow - is National Gun Violence Awareness Day. (Agenda item B.a.) The second was A Resolution of the Mayor and City Commissioners of the City of South Miami supporting the ADL’s (Anti-Defamation League) anti-hate resolution standing against the targeting of individual communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Agenda item N.4.)
The Commission also passed a resolution to name a block along S.W. 64th Court (between S.W. 64th Street and S.W. 66th Street) as “Rodney L. Williams, Sr. Court.” This is the story I heard: At one point in his life Mr. Williams, a barber in the Marshall-Williamson area of South Miami, used his influence to defuse a potentially ugly riot. He encouraged his neighbors to march peacefully to City Hall to voice their outrage to the Commission about the wounding of a man by a Police trainee. It seems so prescient that this resolution got to the Commission this week! That the City is honoring a man who cared enough to advert damage and, at the same time, to support peaceful expression of outrage! (Agenda item O.6.)
I have now been the "host" of three Zoom meetings. Let me just say here, that I have been exhausted after all of them. Zooming requires that I pay attention to: (1) the agenda, (2) Robert's Rules of Order, (3) the order of those who want to speak, (4) what I had planned to say at various points, (5) the mechanics of turning on and off microphones, and (6) whether or not all the electronics are working appropriately. I am very, very grateful to the City Attorney's knowledge of the Rules of Order and his ability to track where we are in the process. And I am equally grateful to the techno-savvy people on the City's staff. I am also grateful to the people who have attended these meetings: it know it is hard to stay focused on talking heads. It is also requires much patience to wait one's turn to speak - and I am glad there are those who are willing and who stay with the meeting in order to speak. South Miami is a very special place and that is, in part, proved by the resilience, flexibility, patience, and involvement of its residents. I thank everyone for your part in moving South Miami forward during these crazy-making times.
Miami-Dade County's curfew is now moved back to midnight.
Governor DeSantis has extended the moratorium on evictions until July 1.
It is expected that guidelines for how to run summer camps will be published by the end of this week. And, that, therefore, Summer Camps my open on Monday, June 8. It is my understanding that, if the guidelines are close to the draft guidelines, the Boys and Girls Clubs may open for campers on Wednesday, June 10 - to give parents a couple of days to register their children. Preference may be given to children whose parents who are currently employed. In any case, there will be limited space as each group of campers is limited in size to one counselor and nine campers.
At this writing I doing not know what plans are in the making for our Community Center. I do know that football and cheer leading have been cancelled for this season. These are activities that can not be limited to just nine participants.
The count is still going up in Miami-Dade County. Some of that, it is said, is due to the Nursing Home and Assisted Living Facilities population. Whatever that increase is due to, please remember to be careful.
Keep healthy, stay safe!