Legacy 2016 Miami: 40 Under 40 Issue | Page 2

2BB AN INDEPENDENT SUPPLEMENT BY MIA MEDIA & COMMUNICATIONS GROUP TO MIAMI HERALD MONDAY, AUGUST 1, 2016 MIAMI DADE COUNTY CHAIRMAN’S REPORT By Chairman Jean Monestime Tackling Gun Violence is Key to Prosperity Chairman Jean Monestime, District 2 Miami Dade County Board of County Commissioners Advancing policies to provide for greater prosperity across all income brackets has been my primary focus as Chairman of the Miami-Dade County Commission. I am grateful to my colleagues for the many advances we have made – including “banning the box” on employment applications pertaining to criminal history, increasing health benefits for our Living Wage workers, streamlining a low-interest second mortgage program for first-time homebuyers earning up to $67,340 and cutting transit fares for riders earning up to $23,760 a year. The focus on greater prosperity has captured the imagination of the academic community. The Metropolitan Center at Florida International University recently published the “Prosperity Initiatives Feasibility Study” commissioned by the Chairman’s Council for Prosperity Initiatives, which I lead along with my colleagues Commissioners Barbara Jordan and Daniella Levine Cava. The study identified more policy initiatives to reduce disparities and reverse some of the economic trends that reduce our competitiveness. As state and federal officials craft policies to rebuild the middle class in Florida and across the country, we need to work in tandem to improve our local economy. This study gives us valuable guidance. Though I am delighted with the broad support of the prosperity agenda, it all means absolutely nothing to the young victims of gun violence. The Children’s Defense Fund reports that homicide is the top cause of death for young black men, and black children and teens were 17 times more likely to die from a gun as a white child of the same age. In the last 15 months, 46 children and youth have been killed in Miami-Dade County, according to the April 2016 Children’s Trust Youth Violence Prevention Report. There can be no prosperity for a community where children are killing children. While the death statistics reveal a concentration of tragedies in the urban core, solving this problem is a responsibility that belongs to all of us. I recently met with the chairs of the Miami City Commission, the School Board and the Children’s Trust to discuss a collaborative effort. We all agree that we must all contribute resources to support a long-term, community-led effort to engage the highly at-risk youth who are engaging in this gun violence. The City of Richmond, California was once considered one of the nation’s most dangerous cities in the nation, with a homicide rate of 45.9 per 100,000 residents. The street outreach efforts and fellowship programs for violent youth initiated by the city in 2007 contributed to a significant reduction in gun violence, as the city recently experienced its lowest level of homicides in 33 years (14.9 per 100,000 residents). This may be a model worth emulating. Studies by the Ann E. Casey Foundation regarding community change support the notion that transformation is possible if we rely on locally led efforts. The solution cannot be imposed by outside agencies. The body politic has a responsibility to provide the resources and measure the outcomes, but the implementation must be in the community’s hands. We need to collaborate with other government agencies to formulate a long-term funding plan and develop a framework to allow a locally led youth gun violence initiative to develop from within the community. Such action is needed now, because true prosperity will come to Miami-Dade County when all our youth can hope and dream of a brighter future. www.miamidade.gov/district02 Legacy Miami 40 Under 40 Cover Photo Honorees on cover from left to right: Devona Reynolds-Perez, Kilan Assad-Bishop, Tyrone Manning, Marquita Moore, Dr. Nkume Sobe Jr., Marcus Majors, Carlton Ford, Christopher Simmonds, Johanne Pradel Wilson, Javid Hepburn Cover Mural: Music Alive 34’ X 80’ by Addonis Parker Located in Historic Overtown on NW 11th St., and 3rd Ave., Miami, FL www.addonisparker.com Addonis Parker Cover Photographer: Teekay