Groups outline proposals to heal Miami's wounds
The scene of last May's race riot here in only a causeway away from Miami Beach, where the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is holding its national convention.
But the battle-scarred portions of the city seem far away to most of the 18, 000 people attending the meeting, as they swarm around the convention center and the scores of hotels along the ocean.
Many of Miami's 225,000 black residents, however, are looking for action from the governmental agencies and civil rights organizations that are promising help. And civil rights, social, and government task forces are calling press conference after press conference announcing programs for the Liberty City area.
* Florida Gov. Bob Graham has signed a bill authorizing $5 million in loans and $5 million in tax credits to aid Liberty City. State loans are to be targeted for community development organizations. Income tax credits are to be offered to businesses that set up in or move into blighted areas, contribute to community development organizations, or create jobs for inner-city residents.
* Ernest G. Green, assistant secretary of labor for employment and training, announced a $1.1 million special summer jobs program for youth, plans for the establishment of a job course center, and a $71 million federal aid package for Miami.
* The Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) announced that it will establish an office in Miami to work with local organizations and to organize a local chapter.
At least 10 local coalitions also have been formed to plan improvements in Miami. But the NAACP still has made no plans for a delegate visit to the riot area.
The skeptical mood of many Miami blacks is expressed by Jacquie Gainer, a life-long resident of Liberty City.
"I'm not a violent person myself," she said, "but I started out with what was a demonstration against criminal justice injustice to blacks. No violence was intended. But tempers and people got out of hand."
Politicians making appearances and speeches are not helping, she says. She praises the work of Opportunities Industrial Council (OIC), a training program that prepares people for jobs that are available. "We are proud of our community and where we live," she said. "We lost jobs but we had to ventilate our anger.
"Black people cannot expect others to do for them," Mrs. Gainer said. "We have lots of educating to do with our young. We must teach them that nobody hands us anything on a silver platter. There are no more token blacks and giveaways. We must make good for ourselves."
Inside the Liberty City live 81,000 people, nearly all black, 50 percent of the residents are 21 years of age and under. Unemployment is 15 percent among the general Liberty City population and 50 percent among the young people. At the same time, Miami ranks well below the national average in overall unemployment, according to Mr. green. It also was noted that only 25 percent of blacks eligible to vote are registered.
Miami's Mayor Maurice Ferre headed a parade of local and state officials who told the NAACP that they will cooperate with organizations like it to help Liberty City recover.
They promised to work for the improvement of criminal justice, of economic conditions, and of human relations in the Miami area. Business spokesmen are telling the NAACP they will work to develop private sector employment for black people.