Keon Hardemon Makes Miami History
Uncle Luke, the man whose booty-shaking madness made the U.S. Supreme Court stand up for free speech, gets as nasty as he wants to be for Miami New Times. Today, Luke basks in his candidate's victory.
Miami's African American community did something historic last night, electing the youngest city commissioner since going to single member districts 20 years ago. As I celebrated alongside Keon Hardemon's supporters, I felt proud knowing I helped an intelligent, young professional win one of the most important political posts in South Florida. Too often, the only news involving men Hardemon's age involve guns, drugs, and violence.
Heck, the only time you see television news crews in the inner city is to cover shootings that usually involve a black man dying in the streets.
But no one was at Jackson's Soul Food restaurant in Overtown to cover Hardemon's defining moment. I didn't see Michael Putney, Jim DeFede, or any of the usual suspects who report on politics. That's a damn shame because Hardemon's victory is bigger than seeing Barack Obama get elected. Hardemon wasn't supposed to make it this far.
In the eyes of mainstream America, he was supposed to turn into a drug dealer, a robber, or a murderer growing up in Liberty City. Instead, he has become a true beacon of hope for his peers. He is living proof that African American men can grow up to do great things and help their community. He is the reason I founded the Liberty City Optimist Club, which gets too much recognition for churning out superstar NFL athletes.
Our goal is to show young boys and girls that they can be anything they want to be from a doctor to a public defender, like Hardemon.
This is a young man who had the opportunity to accept better job offers with a much higher pay grade in Boston and New York. Yet he choose to return to his neighborhood and help his community.
As we watched the results come in, he showed me a video he took of himself three years ago when he missed his return flight home from a trip to Shanghai. In it, he talks about being inspired to run for public office after reading news stories about my run for county mayor. One of his goals is to take African American kids to China to broadan their horizons.
That's why his win is so special. Hardemon is going to be a great commissioner.
Follow Luke on Twitter: @unclelukereal1.