On a hot and humid Friday morning at 9:00 am, with the sun on their backs, residents of Liberty city joined by law enforcement officials joined hands in a unified commitment to support peace within and throughout their neighboring communities. The march was hosted by the Chief Press Foundation, Miami-Dade County Association of Chiefs of Police, and Miami Children’s Initiative with the single message – We are Stronger Together.
The march commenced at Charles K. Drew K-8 Center within MCI’s Impact Zone and boasted more than 100 children and their families, 80 police officers, 5 police chiefs and an array of command staff, the current cohort of police academy recruits, victim’s advocates, the state’s attorney office, correctional and probation officials, counselors, other community-based organizations and members of the clergy.
While the march interrupted traffic - marchers were greeted with cheers and smiles, amidst horns beeping and clapping from drivers and onlookers. Following the march, officers spent the day with children and their families, dancing, hugging and playing games at the Back to School Summer Jam hosted by the Chief Press Foundation, the Key Biscayne Community Foundation and the Miami Children’s Initiative (MCI). “It’s not enough to say we care, we have to show we care every day” says Chief Press.
The Back to School Summer Jam was an all-day event featuring a live deejay, arts and crafts, a petting zoo, three waterslides, board games, school uniform and book bags replete with school supplies giveaway. Liberty City residents served as chefs barbecuing all day. Salathia Miller, age 10, a resident of Liberty City, was happy to see all the kids together in a positive way, highlighting that she had never been to a petting zoo, “my favorite animal was the pig.”
The Chief Press Foundation and the Miami Children’s Initiative stand firm in their resolve to break the silos that exist between law enforcement and the neighborhoods they protect. “The march is just a small part of promoting community engagement with the children in our community, the tone and tenor of a conversation is different when you know the child you’re speaking too, states President and CEO, Cecilia Gutierrez.
The Chief Press Foundation and MCI wishes to extend a heartfelt thanks to its respective staff and volunteers, the community for such a wonderful reception and the many organizations that showed up to be a part of our community’s growth and progression. The State Attorney’s Office Kathy Fernandez Rundle, Care Resource, The Miami-Dade Department of Health, The Women’s Fund, Moving Forward Together, Little Lighthouse Foundation, Citi Foundation, Balloon Expert, Planned Parenthood, HPV Awakenings, the Little Farm, Smoothie King, The Children’s Trust, Himan Brown Charitable Trust, Key Biscayne Community Foundation, and the Police Athletic League of Miami Beach.
For more information on the work MCI does in Liberty City, please visit the website at http://www.miamichildrensinitiative.org.