There are take aways.
There are impressions.
There are moments.
There was silence.
The anticipated rage wasn't there.
The implication is then neither was hope.
The fight has almost been whipped out of the public.
The belief in right over wrong didn't come to that meeting.
But it must be found. Defeat is not an option.
Miami is in the fight of its life.
And everyone must choose a side and become active participants in this fight.
There are wrongs and absolutely every single person has been wronged by the dam caused flooding that occurs here even if not a drop of water found its way into your house or business.
The floods here have changed this community into a cowed and beat set of victims.
Not only does the town flood, but it gets Toxic Flooded when our superfund named creek does part of the flooding.
And then there is BF Goodrich and that other problem of having a reputation of sometimes just being down right stinky.
This is a public that feels defeated and is just riding this all out in hopes it will just fix itself.
The belief of being a winner, and having a happy, safe, dry place to raise kids has diminished.
Public pride is at its lowest.
And I saw that, no, actually I heard it. I heard it with the absence of rage for the most part that occurred at the Town Hall on flooding that Friday night.
The anticipated flood of people to standup and queue for the public participation segment and the rules to regulate the rowdy crowd were over-kill because the silence was almost deafening and the long pregnant pauses between those who did stand to speak an opinion or to ask a question I am sure surprised those on the stage. Several mustered themselves to the edge of the stage and spoke but the word that became the moment that rings in my head and will not stop is minor. The woman who passionately stated her flood was not MINOR and ended stating a determination to be out there in front with the team fighting.
Representatives of the tribes most impacted by the flooding sat near the front of the audience with a pointed question and comment from the most downstream tribe.
Not present with us was the Senior Australian of the year, Miriam-Rose Ungunmerr-Baumann, who has said of her people "we are river people." Aren't we river people too? My people today she explained recognize and experience in quietness the great Life-Giving Spirit, God’s presence.
She explained that her ancestors understood their environment and use silence to become replenished which then brings them to be resilient. The silence you may have been exhibiting has prepared you to be able to take on what comes next. You are ready. We all are.
Also sitting at the back of the Coleman was the vice-president of LEAD Agency, Grace Goodeagle, our own elder stateswoman and former Chairwoman of the Quapaw Tribe, knowing deeply the connection we each feel to our environment and how when it is harmed, we are all harmed.
Dam caused flooding. These words proved what that crowd knew to be happening but the repetition of that phrase and the mantra that became, persists in my mind.
It ought to become a song and our message blaring on the radio as the city buckles into the fight for its life.
The life guards came to that meeting. Almost legendary Larry Bork actually stood before the public and clearly told us all who was to blame. We were right. We have been right all along. But right can't win by itself. Right needs a good lawyer and Miami and the 456 plaintiffs have a good one. Jan. 2022 D.C. Circuit’s remand stating, “…the evidence that Pensacola Dam’s operation has caused the flooding in the City is powerful.” This definitely demonstrates even the courts know right from wrong.
Get on board. Clear your throat. Write those songs. Get on the same page. There is a fight and you must win. You have been right all along to feel rage. We are all on the same page. Page and rage do rhyme.
Respectfully Submitted ~ Rebecca Jim