Miami-Dade Economic Advocacy Trust (MDEAT) Hosted the 2015 MDEAT Economic Summit
Free event brought together experts and leaders in the areas of juvenile justice, homeownership, and small business development, as well as community residents
The buzz in the room was palpable. It was one of excitement, expectation, and hope at the Miami-Dade Economic Advocacy Trust (MDEAT) 2015 Economic Summit, as dozens of community leaders and residents convened at Miami-Dade College, Wolfson Campus, September 18, 2015, to exchange ideas, develop strategies, and shape an equity agenda for Miami-Dade County to transform the economic condition of the Targeted Urban Areas (TUAs).
MDEAT Board Chairperson Cornell Crews and MDEAT Executive Director John Dixon opened the annual event, which promised to be a day full of information and initiatives in the areas of best practices in juvenile justice; advancements in homeownership; and success strategies in small business development. Crews welcomed everyone to the event and talked about the importance in the community of organizations like MDEAT. He encouraged the attendees to, "take advantage of what will be presented here today. Listen. Learn. Commit yourself to improving your life and community." Dixon said that MDEAT stays true to its mission statement, "by providing opportunities such as this and other events for experts and the community to come together to share concerns and identify ways to address and resolve them."
Special guest speakers T. Willard Fair, president and CEO of the Urban League of Greater Miami, Inc., and Luther Campbell, entrepreneur, record label owner, producer, author, and rap artist, generated positive feelings among the attendees, who listened to them speak about the importance of education, responsibility, perseverance, and community involvement in order to improve their lives and become the best they can. They regaled the crowd with tales about their struggles growing up in Miami but how, through hard work and determination, they overcame numerous obstacles to achieve their goals.
Fair spoke of the importance of hard work and personal commitment in the community, and pointed to the "importance of having Black elected officials at the summit." Additionally, he told the audience not to "expect the government to take care of you. Don't get comfortable. You need to go out and work."
Campbell stated that education is of foremost importance and that, "we really need to challenge our school system to give our kids access to trade programs so they don't end up on the streets." He held a book sale and signing of his latest publication, best seller The Book of Luke: My Fight for Truth, Justice, and Liberty City. The crowd purchased every book, with the hope that his fight - their fight - will motivate them and produce positive results.
Presentations by MDEAT staff included overviews of the agency's Youth Action Committee, Housing Advocacy Committee. and Economic Development Action Committee.
A panel of officials from the Overtown Community Redevelopment Corporation, Coconut Grove Collaborative, South Dade Solutions, and the City of Miami Economic Development Department, touched on many important topics crucial to the improvement of TUAs, job creation, and resident self-empowerment. Jahid Rashid, executive director of the Coconut Grove Collaborative told the crowd that, "we must build financial infrastructures to keep dollars in our community."
Break-out discussions covering economic development, youth development, and housing strategies were facilitated by MDEAT Trust Board Members. and recommendations were made by the groups to transform and improve our community.
For more information on MDEAT, visit us at www.miamidade.gov/EconomicAdvocacyTrust or call 305-375-5661.