On August 28, in the aftermath of the events in Ferguson, MO the Power U Center for Social Change convened a meeting at Miami’s Church of the Open Door so members of our own community could speak out on their experiences of state violence. That evening roughly 200 people came together in the fellowship hall of the church. We heard from family members of young men that have been shot down by police in Miami Dade County, people who’ve been harassed by the police while attempting to move freely in their own neighborhoods, mothers whose families have been traumatized by the Department of Children and Families, young people who fear for their safety when standing outside of their own homes.
As a direct result of this gathering The Miami Committee on State Violence was formed. A separate, autonomous coalition made up of Black and Latino, citizens and undocumented immigrants, youth and elders, children and parents.
What unites us is our shared concern about the impact of state violence on our communities – especially those community members fighting to exist in Miami’s low-income and working class Black and Latino communities. Our goal is to address the depressed economic conditions, continued racial inequality, and the weight of state violence which combine to create an atmosphere of anxiety and insecurity in our communities. Members of our communities have endured serious traumas, often from institutions that are supposed to serve and protect us such as the police and the Department of Children and Families.
To make things right, we demand the basic human right to raise our families in safe and healthy environments – without going to bed hungry at night, being harassed or brutalized by the police, being imprisoned or deported, or having our children taken away. Together, we also strive to create spaces for us to come together and share our stories with each other. And in addition we demand effective and culturally competent social services brought directly into the communities that need them the most.
The committee vows to fight to create the Miami we need while demanding the resources and structural changes necessary for our survival, and we invite you to join us in our journey.