Five years ago, Verlene Tenner’s young nephew was killed in a drive-by shooting in South Dade. Six months ago, Tenner’s friend’s daughter died in a drive-by in Florida City, the day after the teen’s 17th birthday.
“I’m tired,” Tenner, 52, said. “I’m tired of mothers crying. I don’t want to see more tears. It has become a pattern here in Homestead and Florida City. I needed to do something about it.”
And so she will: On Saturday, Tenner will hold a “bike-a-thon,” during which mothers will speak about their pain and discuss solutions to gun violence in South Dade. The event will start at noon.
Riders can bike from Florida City or Homestead along the South Dade busway, which will be blocked off by police.
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I’m tired of mothers crying.
Verlene Tenner, organizer of bike-a-thon
Those starting in Homestead will meet at Miami Dade College’s Homestead Campus, 500 College Terrace. Those starting in Florida City will meet at the intersection of Southwest 14th Street and Ninth Avenue, where two weeks ago a 19-year-old was killed in a drive-by shooting.
“We don’t just have bikes, we have people coming on scooters, skateboards, hover-boards, roller blades, and a whole lot of walkers,” Tenner said.
Both groups will head toward each other, meeting in the middle at 627 NW Sixth Ave. right outside Loren Roberts Park.
“We’re just trying to unite, join together. There’s a problem down here and we’re trying to figure it out, solve it, fix it,” Tenner said. “If we can save just one child. If just one child listens to something someone is saying, it will make a difference. They need to know that there’s a better way; they have a future, they are worth so much.”
With more than 300 children and teens killed by gunfire in the last decade, the youth murder rate in Miami-Dade County has been called an epidemic.
Some speakers slated for the event are: Sybrina Fulton, the mother of Trayvon Martin, the Miami Gardens teen who was shot and killed by a Neighborhood Watch captain in Sanford, Florida, four years ago; Tangela Sears, an anti-violence activist; state Rep. Kionne L. McGhee; Homestead police chief Al Rolle; Homestead Vice Mayor Patricia Fairclough and Florida City Mayor Otis Wallace.
A local funeral home choir will perform.
With more than 300 children and teens killed by gunfire in the last decade, the youth murder rate in Miami-Dade County has been called an epidemic by community leaders. One day this month, two teens were killed in separate shootings within hours of each other.
Earlier this year, students in North Dade planned a lobbying and social media campaign to save their peers from teen gun violence. Just weeks into their project, a classmate lost her 6-year-old brother, King Carter, who was shot dead, caught in a gunfight between teens feuding over a Facebook post.
In 2015, 24 people 18 and younger were shot and killed in Miami-Dade, and two were gunned down in Broward, according to the counties’ medical examiners offices.
IF YOU GO
When: Noon Saturday
Homestead location: 500 College Terrace, Miami Dade College Homestead Campus.
Florida City location: Intersection of Southwest14th Street and Ninth Avenue in Florida City