Frederica Wilson Recalls When the Mafia Threatened Her Son's Life
Congresswoman Frederica Wilson, who owns perhaps the most stunning collection of hats since Isabella Blow, has finally landed on the cover of a magazine. Unfortunately for Anna Wintour, it wasn't on her Vogue magazine, but rather the Washington Post Magazine. Though the photo shoot certainly looked fun, the accompanying article isn't. Wilson recounts the time she took on the mob and had her son's life threatened in the process.
The newspaper insert mag asked six new members of congress to recount their "Road to the Capitol" in their own words. Wilson tells of her father's influence in her political activism but then recalls the time before she entered politics and was principal of Skyway Elementary in Miami Gardens.
The county commission gave permission to an Agripost composting plant to open up shop right across the street from her school. The ensuing stench was so bad that it prevented outdoor PE activities, so Wilson took action. She started a letter-writing campaign and took students to commission meetings. The story is a pretty well-known part of Wilson's backstory. But in this recounting, she elaborates with a Mafia twist.
Then it was indicated to me and my family that it was the Mafia's initiative and to leave it alone. My own children were at my school, and my son would catch the gifted bus on Monday, Wednesday and Fridays. Someone called and said, "She better leave [the plant] alone, or one time her son might not get to that gifted program."
Of course, Mafia threats and all, Wilson continued her fight. The plant was soon closed, and her son is still alive. The experience propelled her to run for Miami-Dade School Board, and she eventually worked her way up through the state legislature to her current position as a U.S. representative.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Miami New Times' biggest stories.