South Florida law enforcement, city and county officials joined Miami-Dade community members during a “Stop the Silence” peace march on Wednesday evening — as authorities continue to encourage residents to speak up amid a recent spate of major shootings.
The half-mile walk, which ended at Athalie Range Park in Little Haiti, included several members of the University of Miami Hurricanes, their coach Manny Diaz and Miami Heat player Udonis Haslem.
“You stand out here in the rain with all of us to get this done. Use that. Use that to influence people,” said Miami-Dade police director Freddy Ramirez III. “Get on that social media and stop the garbage. Because what we’re going to have is we’re going to turn our community into a cemetery of people who have died for stupidity, for dumb things, when we’re better than that.”
Miami-Dade officials have vowed a crackdown on crime in the past several weeks, after a rash of shootings during Memorial Day weekend, including a mass shooting that left three dead and nearly two dozen injured. Also in attendance were Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava, Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, city and county commissioners, Florida Sen. Jason Pizzo, and family members of victims of gun violence.
“Ain’t no such thing as snitching no more. It’s reporting. Smash snitching, start reporting. That’s what we’re doing now,” said Terry Elliot Sr., who heads Ark of the City Foundation, a nonprofit organization that heads social programs for at-risk youth in South Florida.
Meanwhile, Miami-Dade Commissioner Keon Hardemon highlighted the county’s Peace and Prosperity Plan — which was approved earlier this month and assigned millions of dollars in the next two years for youth work programs.
“For people who live in this community, for people who grew up in .public housing projects like me, if you can’t get [money] right now, there’s nobody, not a pastor, not an elected official, not anybody, not a police officer that can tell you anything. The only way it’s going to work is to put some money in their pockets,” added Hardemon.
“So if you want to put money into kids’ pockets and you want to take them off the streets so they won’t kill each other, please help Miami-Dade County.”