WASHINGTON, D.C. — It’s been a busy time, as tends to be the case, for Congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson. On Friday the District 24 U.S. representative announced that funding grants totaling more than $5 million have been awarded to police departments in the cities of Miami Gardens, Miami and Opa-Locka, as well as to the Miami-Dade County Public Schools Police Department, for hiring additional school resource and law enforcement officers.
The grants, awarded by the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), to bolster local law enforcement agencies and improve community policing strategies to address critical public safety issues, were based on fiscal need, local crime rates and community policing plans.
“As our communities face increasing challenges, I am pleased that our law enforcement agencies will receive critical funding necessary to better police and protect our schools and our neighborhoods in district 24,” Wilson said. “With the proliferation of guns and illegal weapons on the streets, and Congress’ unwillingness to pass gun control legislation, our law enforcement officers must be adequately equipped to protect our citizens.”
Just the day before on Thursday, the second-term congresswoman, who represents parts of Northern Miami-Dade and Southeast Broward counties, also delivered an extended speech on the House floor in defense of President Barack Obama’s signature law, the Affordable Care Act. Often referred to as “Obamacare,” the act is appropriately named, Wilson said. “This landmark legislation proves that ‘ObamaCares’ about mothers, young people, seniors, and the American economy.”
In the days before that the former state legislator and school principal again was busy with one of her own signature accomplishments: her mentoring program for young males at risk of dropping out of school.
Twenty-four students from several 5000 Role Models of Excellence Project senior high schools in Miami-Dade County experienced a highlight of their young lifetimes when they participated in a four-day student leadership summit experience, during the 43rd Annual Legislative Conference of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), Sept. 18 – 21 in Washington, D.C.
The students and their chaperones were guests of project founder Wilson. In addition to visiting the nation’s capital, they participated in workshops sponsored by Wilson and moderated by Miami-Dade Schools Superintendent Alberto M. Carvalho and MSNBC’s PoliticsNation Host Al Sharpton Jr.
The students also participated in a White House Forum with members of the White House staff, toured the U.S. Capitol and some of the city’s historical sites including the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial and Lincoln Memorial, and visited Howard University. They completed pre- and post-surveys that queried their knowledge of local, state, and federal history and elected officials, to make their Washington experience relevant to classroom instruction.
The 5000 Role Models of Excellence Project officials hope to institute an annual leadership summit, to expose students to valuable educational, political, and social leadership opportunities designed to develop and strengthen their leadership skills.
Key components of impact include reinforcement of classroom instruction, engagement in real subject matter lessons related to geography, history and political science, and socialization with diverse groups of professionals in both the public and private sectors.
“The well-being of the African-American male can no longer take a back seat,” said Wilson. “We must stop the so called school-to-prison pipeline. It’s time for a coherent multi-sector debate and agenda to close gaps in education, employment and health care for good. I know from experience and from the successes of the 5000 Role Models of Excellence Project, that if we work together, we can find solutions to save our sons,” said Wilson.