Though school begins this week, three boys from Overtown won't get a fresh start. Earlier this month, Ernest Rowell and Khalib Newkirk were arrested for the murder of 10-year-old Marlon Eason. According to police, either Rowell, who is 18 years old, or Newkirk, who is 15, opened fire in March at a passing car they believed was occupied by rival gang members. A stray bullet struck Eason as he played basketball.
At a news conference announcing the arrests, Miami Commissioner Keon Hardemon said, "It's not just a child who lost his life but two other children who lost their future."
We're always bemoaning gun violence in Miami's inner city but not doing anything to address it. That's why I'm calling on the Miami-Dade School Board and the Miami City Commission to bring back trade schools and give these kids who don't have any shot of getting into college a reason to live.
We have to rebuild Miami's black community one kid at a time. And it always starts with education. When there is none, black youth do desperate things. The average kid growing up in Overtown and Liberty City who can't get into college is left with one choice: living on the street. The school board should be leading the charge to open a construction trade school just like it supported a charter school for the Latin Builders Association to teach Hispanic children the business.
It's time the county lived up to its promises to create construction jobs for the black residents of Miami's poorest neighborhoods. As dozens of projects are planned for the urban core, from Miami Worldcenter to Brickell City Centre, Mayor Tomás Regalado and the city commission keep saying they will provide training and jobs for the black community. Yet I don't see it happening.
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I have visited construction sites for projects supported by the city and the county where there are hardly any African-American workers.
To help black children enter the local workforce, the school board, organizations like the LBA, and companies like Florida Power & Light should start trade schools on the north and south ends of Miami-Dade County. Let's give every African-American kid from Perrine to Miami Gardens something to live for.
Follow Luke on Twitter: @unclelukereal1.