On behalf of the Community Action Team (C.A.T), I would to say "thank you" to each and everyone of you that took time out of their schedules to show that they care about rebuilding Deerfield Beach.
So, I just left the Community Meeting, which in my opinion was a great start to this rebuilding process. That process is the rebuilding of Deerfield Beach starting in District 2. The City, with the indisputable help of Chaz Stevens, has knocked down the foundations of our community and it's up to us to pick up the rubble, mix the cement, and begin to pour a new foundation built on reciprocity between District 2 and the other Districts that make up Deerfield Beach. So, it brought a tear to my eye when I walked in at about 6:40pm and saw Cody Loomis and about 5 others sitting there. I was shocked and amazed that people from outside of District 2 would take the time to show up and as the time past more individuals would show up filling the room (it was a small room, but hey its just the beginning), some from District 1, 3, and 4.
I know that most people came out to see if Sylvia Poitier would be there and don't get me wrong she was there in spirit. As I know that she only wants the best for District 2 and she knows that a rebuilding after all this turmoil is a necessity. I am sure we have her full support.
During the course of the meeting the main theme from all the speakers was educating ourselves about our City's government and it's processes, getting involved and staying involved, and organizing ourselves to be more effective representatives of our community.
We voted and the majority decided to whole 2 community meetings a month each Monday preceding a City Commission Meeting to discuss the agenda for that meeting and bring up any concerns we as a community may have, so that we can bring them to the attention of our elected representative at the following days Commission meeting.
I believe this will help to get us educated and keep us informed of what is going on in our city. We will be able to discuss the agenda in detail, as it comes out the Friday before the meeting, and identify any agenda items that we should be concerned with, and this allows everyone in our community that may not want to go in front of the Commission to speak an avenue to have their voice heard because the members at the community meeting can act as an advocate for the community.
With that said we are looking for more members to join the Community Action Team.
It was also discussed that a network be set up to disseminate information through our churches and the Community Action Team is working on that. This will help to get information to as many people as possible by getting our churches involved. We had several Pastors attend the meeting and we look forward to working with each Church to ensure that as many of the District's residents have access to as much information as possible.
The highlights were Gloria Battle and Ben Preston who both spoke at the meeting. Ms. Battle indicated that she was a "wealth of knowledge" and we should take advantage of her years of experience working with the Census and HUD programs. She also made sure to indicate to everyone in attendance that She was cleared of all charges and that she did not cost the city $200,000.00 as had been reported on other sites. Mr. Preston spoke about taking pride in our community and showing off the fact that we have a Magnet program at Deerfield Beach High School and yet the community in that area did not show the pride in that fact as it should. He also indicated that the meetings should have a better structure and that as a community we needed an agenda to work from and that would better serve our purposes of rebuilding our community. He was also not in favor of the 2 monthly meetings indicating that he is impressed with the enthusiasm and eagerness in which this has been undertaken but all of that fades. He is right and our community does have a tendency to become lackadaisical toward its civic duty and community involvement. So it will be all of our responsibility to keep everyone engaged and energized.
Diane Chisholm, District 2 resident and C.A.T member, advised everyone that we need to begin with ourselves and our properties. That taking pride in our properties would go along way toward the betterment of our community. She indicated that she "pushes the lawnmower" just as much as her husband, a long time Sheriff for BSO.
I saved myself for last because hey it's my blog...
The meeting was started by Gloria Battle at Reverend Ford's request, in the absence of C.A.T's representative Sharon Keitt. Other reps for the organization were in attendance but he felt it best to wait on Keitt because she had contacted him about using the space. Keitt arrived at the end of Battle's opening speech and she gave a lovely address before turning the podium over to me. I began by addressing the reason we were there which was to discuss our issues and come up with new positive solutions to fix them. I opened the floor for people to bring up anything they would like addressed, but no one spoke. I was asked about my association to the city were I told them of my familial links to Poitier and Battle and the fact that my community had not changed in the last 26+ years and so I am getting involved to help my community. I expressed the fact this is our fault because we have always sat back and not spoken up for ourselves over in District 2 and therefore we get nothing. Exactly, what we asked for! I exclaimed to the audience that it was time for us to demand what we wanted and we start by doing that by getting involved, going to commission meetings, voting, and becoming educated to the ways of our government. I expressed the accessibility of information over the internet and the fact that Metro PCS has made the internet accessible to the masses and if we just read and stopped taking "headlines" for news then we would be better off. I advised of two ventures taking place to record the black history of Deerfield Beach. One by Ford and the other by myself and Andre Samuels, another Deerfield Beach District resident. I stressed the importance of parents teaching their kids about civic duty and leading by exampled by voting and getting involved in the community. Later in the night Bett Willett joined the conversation and advised the group that just by going to the meetings you can affect change in your community. Showing your face, letting the Commissioners know that you care and will not take "crap" (my words not hers) goes along way. She was right and I believe that hearing those words from Ms. Willett really drove home the fact that we as a community need to get involved and stay involved. Another topic was the impending Special Election, which I advised the group that whereas we have no real say in who the Commissioners appoint to be Interim District 2 Commissioner, it is important that we stay involved to ensure that that individual does what is in the best interest of our residents. That is my main goal and the main goal of the Community Action Team to see that the best interest of our residents, District 2 and beyond, is mirrored by the actions of our elected officials and city management.
So, after all of that I want to again thank everyone who participated and everyone who showed up. We look forward to rebuilding Deerfield Beach with everyones help.
A Joining of Hands to Create a Better Tomorrow, Today!