Last Thursday, HSC hosted training sessions downtown and in South Dade to educate community members about the looming budget cuts and provide them with public speaking techniques to be able to discuss the objectives of the Penny Wise Campaign. The Penny Wise Campaign is an initiative that represents many organizations and numerous individuals who stand to be adversely affected by funding cuts. The loss of county funding would mean drastically reduced resources at a time when the need for these community services and jobs is at an all time high. One of the principal goals is to gather 10,000 signatures and present them to undecided District Commissioners in the hopes of convincing them to vote for a minimal property tax increase that will offset the budget cuts to social services and jobs. I, along with several organization representatives, attended the South Dade meeting. Those organizations that were represented included: MUJER, We Care, enFamilia, We Count and the Hearing & Speech Center of Florida. The executive directors of all of these organizations proposed ideas for spreading the word about the Penny Wise Campaign. They suggested creating color-coded t-shirts to represent each district at upcoming events, as well as creating video testimonials from people that currently receive social services. All of the 16 people in attendance voiced interest in participating in the campaign and making a strong impact on South Dade, principally districts 8 and 9. They planned to meet again in the near future to delegate specific tasks.
Overall, the meeting was a good indication that there are many organizations and individuals interested in protecting social services and jobs.
HSC has formed a team of interns and staff that is in charge of coordinating the petition outreach effort. It is the goal of the Penny Wise Campaign to gather 10,000 signatures from districts 4, 5, 6, 9, 11 and 13 in the next 5 weeks. These districts are of particular importance because their commissioners are undecided on the matter. Please sign the petition and forward it to as many friends and contacts as possible so that we can effect change in Miami-Dade County!