The Liberty Square projects are located in the city of Miami but owned by the county.
The Liberty Square projects are located in the city of Miami but owned by the county.
Photo by George Martinez

Miami-Dade Politicians Don't Give a Damn About Liberty Square

Once again, gun violence and murder intersect at the Liberty Square housing complex, better known as Pork 'n' Beans. This past April 8, two young men were killed and another two were injured while they chilled outside a row of apartments at NW 63rd Street and 13th Place. Witnesses heard at least 25 shots and claimed the unknown gunman "came through like they thought they were Rambo."

Three of the victims attended Miami Northwestern Senior High, prompting students to hold a walkout April 10 to protest gun violence and honor Kimson Green, a 17-year-old sophomore who was about to be inducted into the National Honor Society before he was murdered. It is a familiar tragedy that will continue repeating because no one outside of Liberty City cares.

Miami-Dade County Commissioner Audrey Edmonson and Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez certainly don't give a damn. Even though Pork 'n' Beans is within Miami city limits, Liberty Square is owned by the county. Edmonson and Gimenez have a duty to make sure residents don't have to live in constant fear of being shot to death.

The apartment complex is not a sprawling city. It runs from NW 12th Avenue to NW 15th Avenue and from NW 62nd Street to NW 67th Street. That's roughly eight blocks, but a county government with a $7.4 billion annual budget can't provide security measures to protect the residents of Liberty Square.

It's all by design, because county officials don't want to make Liberty Square safe. They need a reason to justify tearing down Pork 'n' Beans and shipping longtime residents off to Homestead or Miami Gardens. How else can they explain not blanketing every inch of Liberty Square with security surveillance to help police gather evidence and identify these killers? If I were mayor, I would have the entire place wired for sound and video. Liberty Square should have street cameras just like downtown Miami and Brickell Avenue. I'd install a gunshot-detection-and-location system in every building too.

Miami-Dade Politicians Don't Give a Damn About Liberty Square (2)
illustration by Adam Izaguirre

The only time Edmonson and Gimenez have shown interest in Pork 'n' Beans is when they hold workshops and community meetings about how they are going to let their developer buddies tear down Liberty Square and build condos. They are helping their friends make money in exchange for their campaign contributions.

You know who else does not give a damn? White and Hispanic voters in Miami-Dade. They believe the violence in Liberty Square is a problem for black people, and those voters continue to cast ballots for Cuban mayors who don't give a shit about African-Americans. Special-interest groups such as the Kendall Federation of Homeowner Associations and the Latin Builders Association are good at taking care of their own people but are missing in action when it comes time to help minority communities.

I don't see so-called great civic icons such as Norman Braman fighting gun violence in Miami's inner cities. That's because he gets to live in the affluent Indian Creek neighborhood of Miami Beach, where police have license-plate readers so they can track your ass and see if you have a warrant for your arrest. And the only time you see Braman reaching out to black people is when he's trying to recall county politicians or pushing a multibillion-dollar bond issue.

Black residents who harbor killers in Liberty City deserve blame too. You have parents who know their sons are thugs because they come home wearing big, chunky gold chains but have no jobs. When that young man comes home with $2,000 in his pocket, momma ain't saying shit until he is the one who gets shot. Then momma is on television crying about her son.

It's a sickening, never-ending cycle. But we all have the power to make it stop spinning if we come together.

Follow Luke on Twitter: @unclelukereal1.

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