Glades Lives Matter team goes to state capital

Leaders and students tell lawmakers what makes their communities special

Special to the Lake Okeechobee News/Florida Senate
Glades Lives Matter meets with the Florida Senate president.

TALAHASSEE — A group of students, parents, community leaders and local mayors from several Glades area communities traveled to Tallahassee this week to remind state lawmakers that “Glades Lives Matter.”

The group, which included nine area students and their families — all scholarship recipients of the Glades Lives Matter “I am the Glades” Essay Contest — Clewiston Mayor Mali Gardner, Pahokee Mayor Keith Babb and Belle Glade Mayor Steve Wilson, met with a host of state lawmakers and leaders on their two-day trip to the state capital. Their message to state leaders: “Clean our water, protect our land, educate our children and support our communities. Because Glades Lives Matter.”

Janet Taylor, president of Glades Lives Matter and organizer of the trip, said: “It was an empowering trip. These kids and their families brought a powerful message of hope and pride from our communities to state leaders. Our mayors were forceful advocates on issues affecting our area. They all left such a wonderful impression and made us all so very proud. We listened and we were heard. It was certainly time well spent.”

While in Tallahassee. Glades Lives Matter hosted a reception honoring the students, which featured local legislators Rep. Tina Polsky, who represents Palm Beach County, and Rep. Byron Donalds, who represents Hendry and Lee counties. The group also spent a full day at the state Capitol, meeting with Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, State Senate President Bill Galvano and a host of state representatives and state senators.

The trip to Tallahassee is conducted annually by the Glades area-based Glades Lives Matter organization. Glades Lives Matter is a nonprofit organization that focuses on improving the lives of residents in the Glades area communities of Clewiston, South Bay, Belle Glade, Pahokee, Canal Point, LaBelle and Moore Haven.

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