For the last few months, NewFM has worked with Liberty City residents and leaders to “occupy” a local park, holding a series of events and meetings with hopes of beautifying the park, asking local elected officials to assist in the process. Together, we created a letter of demands and gathered over 230 signatures of support.
“Occupy The Park” volunteer, George Perez, recaps the scene below.
My phone’s GPS did not have the location of Alonzo Kelly Park. It is tucked away in a rectangular lot between NW 67th and 68th streets.
If the park is anything, it is neglected.
A day or two before we were set to Occupy the Park, it was ‘cleaned’ by the city. I was told repeatedly, “You should have seen it.”
Yet, in a way, I did.
I saw a city cleanup that reflected the neglect the park has long received. I saw Black and Mild packages and their mouthpieces scattered across the park like a sort of mulch. I saw leaves not brushed out of the park in great piles, but against the walls in sloppy stacks. I saw beer bottles and broken glass hidden underneath these derelict stacks of leaves.
But there is something else I saw; I saw a community and an organization come together with both the idea and the incentive to make the community a better place.
I saw Deborah flipping burgers with her hands, and I saw people dancing to Kyle’s music. I saw Rebecca delivering sodas, and Jose immortalizing the event with his camera. I saw the leaves and litter, long brushed aside by the city, get hauled out by Deborah and her rake.
I saw a community and a New MajorityFlorida not just occupy a park, but reclaim it.
Miami resident George Perez volunteered with New Florida Majority during his college spring break. He is currently finishing his sophmore year at Weslyan University in Conneticut.