Commissioners Beasley and Harris defend MLK event criticism

By Kimberly Porter….
During the public remarks forum at the January 18 City Commission meeting, resident Daisy Harrell expressed concern over the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day activity held on the previous day at Jean Willis Park on Sunset Drive.

Harrell declared that she and many people with whom she spoke were unaware of the event having taken place, adding: “Denying the whole community an opportunity to come together for a day like this” was a disappointment.

“Think if all the people that didn’t know had been able to come,” she stated.

Commenting that the “MLK celebration was very well done, Commissioner Walter Harris said that “next year, we will be sure to get the community involved.” Commissioner Velma Palmer, reminded of the event only that day, wondered “How could you remind me about something I don’t know [about]? This is a community thing and there’s no way they’re going to come together unless we open the door.

“Three days preparation is grossly inefficient,” added Palmer, when noted that planners were given three days’ notice to organize the event.

“There’s no need for these things to be last minute,” said Harrell, commenting that MLK Day is not a new event; there was “plenty of time to plan and get people involved.”

Commissioner Brian Beasley defended efforts made by city manager and event staff, stating he drove to various resident homes, inviting attendance.

“There was effort to inform the community,” he said. “This was the first year we did an event on the actual celebrated day of his birthday. There will be other events, the parade will still occur; this was an additional event.”

Residents interested in details of the MLK event and participation in Black History Month can contact Ms. Erin Jenkins at 305-668-7240.

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