Jonel Edwards is a Miami girl of Jamaican descent. She was born and raised in Miramar, Fl but found herself in Miami increasingly through her work with Dream Defenders.
Miami is a place like no other. What happens here ripples throughout the state and the country. If we can bring about change in Miami, other places can be transformed as well.
Through my work I learned that the people of Miami are resilient and powerful. I learned that the people of Miami are beautiful. I learned that the people of Miami are ready for a change.
What’s the most pressing issue to solve on your list? Why?
I could list many issues that are pressing in Miami and across the state, such as gentrification, disproportionate arrest and suspensions of youth of color, demolishing of entire neighborhoods due to the construction of highways, and many more.
As an organization we made a decision to focus on building deep relationships in order to challenge the disconnectedness in our communities for people living in the same place don’t make a community.
We believe that movements and communities are built and sustained through deep personal relationships. Until we begin to create true human connections and real fellowship within communities we’ll continue fighting losing battles.
HOW CAN WE SOLVE IT?
In order to take action people have to come together as a community and show mutual support to each other. For that reason Dream Defenders launched The Free Campaign in order to lay the foundation for building strong relationships within communities, to develop deep understanding of the pressing issues these communities are facing, and to lead and facilitate the collective development and execution of transformational solutions. Within the frames of the programs we organize discussions and conversations engaging people. This is what we believe to be the first step in beginning to transform the current state of our communities.