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Miami-Dade Community Celebrates Mayor Daniella Levine Cava

Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava onstage with Ron Magill, the masters of ceremonies for the community celebration.
Natalia Clement
Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava onstage with Ron Magill, the masters of ceremonies for the community celebration.

Following her installation ceremony Tuesday at the Adrienne Arsht Center, Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava held a community celebration event at the Bayfront Park Amphitheater in Miami.

About 300 people enjoyed a live DJ and a dozen food trucks as they eagerly waited for the new mayor to take the stage.

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Ron Magill, wildlife expert and communications director for Zoo Miami, was the night’s masters of ceremonies. He praised Levine Cava, calling her a passionate and committed leader.

“I couldn’t be any happier to know that Mayor Levine Cava is at the helm. Through her commitments in cleaning Biscayne Bay to protecting the Florida Everglades, she has already demonstrated how passionate she is about the environment,” Magill said. “I know now that in the mayor’s office there could be no greater champion for the natural treasures that we find here in South Florida.”

Levine Cava's chief strategist and senior advisor, Christian Ulvert, took the stage to thank the crowd for their efforts during the campaign.

“All of you did so much to fuel this journey,” Ulvert said. “You fueled it with hours at the door. You fueled it with hours making phone calls. Campaigns are journeys and what inspires this campaign, and now this newly installed administration, is that it’s people led, people driven, and people inspired.”

Other speakers included Miami Mayor Francis Suarez and Miami Commissioner Joe Carollo. Suarez highlighted the importance of a good working relationship between the city and the county, which is why he said it delighted him to be allies with Levine Cava.

Mayor Levine Cava was greeted with a standing ovation from the audience.
Natalia Clement
Mayor Levine Cava was greeted with a standing ovation from the audience.

“I’ve always considered her someone who has the courage to speak truth to power,” Suarez said. “I’ve always considered her someone who is humble and pure and good — and that’s precisely what we need in politics in today’s day and age.”

The crowd cheered as Levine Cava danced onto the stage to the Alicia Keys song “Girl on Fire."

Levine Cava said she wanted to be mayor to have a say on what happens in downtown Miami, which she referred to as the “engine of our community.” She added that she also wanted to work alongside all the cities within the county.

“We've got 34 cities and you know, they're not stepchildren, they're the real deal,” Levine Cava said. “They're representing people every day at the local level and they're doing great things. And we were not treating them with respect. We were not partnering with them.”

Levine Cava addressed the need for businesses to work hand in hand with workers, as well as the need to tap into talent from local universities to improve the community. She said her goal is for people to have a good quality of life and love each other across neighborhoods.

“That's who we are. That is the best of us and I know that when we are in the worst of times, the best comes out in us,” she said.

Levine Cava alluded to how 1992's Hurricane Andrew showcased how the worst of times brought the community together. She said that ever since then she’s been trying to make that happen, without a disaster, which is why she founded Catalyst Miami more than two decades ago.

The local network of nonprofit organizations focuses on community building strategies that encourage members of different communities to participate in local government.

“I ran to be mayor because I got to talk to thousands and thousands of people about what they care about, what you care about, and how we can get it done,” Levine Cava said. ”And as mayor, we're going to keep on talking until we get it right.”

At the end of her short speech, Levine Cava encouraged the crowd to continue working with her — keeping her informed, and holding her accountable. The night ended with the mayor and her campaign staff mingling with the crowd while a fireworks display lit up the sky.

Miami-Dade resident Kadie Black said she attended the event to celebrate the first woman mayor.

“I've watched Daniella as a child, so today for me it’s really inspiring to just see somebody that’s dedicated their life to supporting others and the betterment of our community,” Black said. “I hope that young girls are watching and thinking ‘I can also make a difference.’”

Black praised Levine Cava for her work uplifting community voices through Catalyst Miami.

“She gets to show all those women that if you really want something and work hard enough, it can come true and you can be in a position of power to really make change,” she said.

Black said she’s looking forward to the mayor tackling environmental sustainability and lowering the cost of living. Black works for Kristi House, a non-profit organization that focuses on child advocacy.

“We need to ensure that funding is going towards breaking cycles of violence and poverty,” Black said. “Really putting money into the front end of our education system, prison-visitation programs, and other systems. I’m looking forward to watching her lead in these areas.”

Natalia Clement is a freelance journalist and former summer intern for WLRN, South Florida’s public radio news outlet. She enjoys producing multimedia content that covers community news and current topics of interest.
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