Letter to the Editor: “And I should care because..”

Last week when I was sick, everyone seemed too “busy” to notice. Then, I went to a meeting in Overtown, and I mentioned I had a headache. Ms. Jailene, a woman at the meeting, got up to find me some Tylenol. She packed me home-cooked food and checked on me later. She is also busy. She has raised four children on her own and is putting them through college. But she found the time to care because. Overtown is a community we could all learn something from.
Blocks away from Ms. Jailene’s home, the seven-acre University of Miami Life Science Park is being built. It has received almost $100 million in public financing allocated to revitalize low-income areas. Yet, with few construction jobs going to Overtown, residents struggle to understand the long-term benefits of this development. They fear that this biotechnology complex will profit from their community’s poverty only to displace them. And their fear is real.
I care because what is being done to this community is done under my university’s name. I care because I can’t sit back and watch UM exploit a low-income community for public financing. I care because our university could actually deliver real economic opportunities to this community..
Unless we stand up as a student body and say we don’t want this to continue, it will. The residents of Overtown have asked the university to sign an agreement guaranteeing them jobs, educational opportunities and benefits. S.T.A.N.D. (Students Towards A New Democracy) supports an agreement that creates a vision of sustainable change because that is what this public financing was for. You have the power to use your student voice to hold your school accountable- why aren’t you?
E-mail standumiami@gmail.com or visit standuniversityofmiami.org to sign the petition.

Stephanie Sandu is a senior and a member of S.T.A.N.D. Note: For privacy purposes, Ms. Jailene’s name has been changed.