Editorials

Activism is now a thing in Miami-Dade — keep it up

Miami Herald Editorial Board

Protesters want Miami-Dade to defy Trump on immigration order

About 400 people rallied in January 2017 at Miami-Dade’s government headquarters as leaders demanded the county defy President Donald Trump and refuse to extend local jail time for immigrants wanted by federal authorities.
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About 400 people rallied in January 2017 at Miami-Dade’s government headquarters as leaders demanded the county defy President Donald Trump and refuse to extend local jail time for immigrants wanted by federal authorities.

Say this for Donald Trump, he’s bringing people together.

Undocumented immigrants, fearful and outraged — and those who support them — held a demonstration outside Miami-Dade County Hall on Tuesday, one of several in the past few days to express anger toward Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez.

The mayor is under fire for conceding to President Trump’s threat to withhold federal funds from cities that do not cooperate with federal officials when undocumented immigrants are arrested.

In another part of town, scores of protesters staged “#ResistTrump Tuesday” at Sen. Marco Rubio’s office in Doral. The goal is to help him and other strangely silent lawmakers find the backbone to vote against, say, a Trump nominee for education secretary who supports guns in schools in case a grizzly bear wanders in.

On Wednesday, South Florida progressive groups and environmentalists are scheduled to protest at the offices of Rubio and Sen. Bill Nelson, delivering petitions denouncing Scott Pruitt, Trump’s pick to head the Environment Protection Agency.

On Friday, several mosques are scheduled to open their doors to non-Muslims, an invitation for people to join Friday prayers. It’s the perfect opportunity to join in solidarity with unfairly targeted fellow Americans, the latest offense being Trump’s executive order barring travelers from seven predominantly Muslim countries — and refugees from anywhere in the world — from entering the United States. It’s part of the president’s fight against terrorism, with some scapegoating along the way.

We hope the energy, the outreach, the community engagement are contagious — and long lasting. That is how communities grow, evolve, thrive.

We also hope that, in addition to protesting against, members of this community will jump in and work for something. Both are effective.

Juan Cuba, head of the Miami-Dade Democratic Party, believes the new activism is here to stay. “People are scared about what America will look like under Trump,” Cuba told the Editorial Board. He says people never politically active before are now stepping up; they are calling their mayor, their legislators, their congressional members and senators and getting involved in their government like never before — and ironically they have President Trump to thank.

Attorney Khurrum Wahid spent last weekend working hard on behalf of an Iranian cruise passenger — and permanent resident, a green-card holder — whose vacation ended in an unimaginable nightmare. Under Trump’s original order, even permanent residents of the United States were barred from entering the country. Because of Wahid and other attorneys’ persistence, the cruise ship passenger was released at Port Everglades.

Tuesday, Wahid was scheduled to address the protest decrying Mayor Gimenez’s order. But, he told the Editorial Board, residents concerned about the direction of the community — and the country — must look beyond protesting and holding signs.

“The marches ignite the fire,” he said. “But if you don’t do something the day after the protests to make it permanent, then you’ve wasted your time.”

That means run for office, go to commission meetings, apply to sit on a municipal board. Volunteer — children and the elderly need you. It’s all nonpartisan community support.

Changing the world is a marathon, not a sprint.

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