Hours before the Super Bowl LIV began at the Hard Rock Stadium, organizers and residents of Miami Gardens protested against the Formula 1 Miami Grand Prix, set to take place at the stadium next year.
Just a block away from the football game, the Unrepresented People’s Positive Action Council (UP-PAC) led the protest. County Commissioner Barbara Jordan, who represents the cities of Opa-Locka and Miami Gardens, also joined.
Residents and activists opposing the race say there are health and environmental concerns, like air pollution and noise that could be harmful to children and the elderly.
“Our health is important to us and it is more important than money,” said Phyllis Simpkins, who has lived in Miami Gardens for 24 years. “Money can’t buy health and it cannot take care of you the rest of your life.”
The racing would make its Miami Gardens debut in May of 2021 and would return annually for the following ten years.
Long-time resident Gloria Taylor said some people in the community simply do not want it.
“Would you do this if it was Aventura? Would you do this if it was South Beach?” said Taylor. “So why would you think it’s alright to come to Miami Gardens? Enough is enough.”
Not long after the protest began, Miami-Dade Police’s Counterterrorism Rapid Deployment Force arrived. Officers claimed the protestors were blocking the sidewalk, making it difficult for Super Bowl goers who were walking towards the stadium.
County Commissioner Jordan said the police were trying to stop protestors from drawing attention away from the Super Bowl.
“The Dolphins and Mayor Gimenez called their officers and told them to get us out of the way,” said Jordan. “They have not done it before when we’ve protested.”
In response to the Miami Herald about Jordan’s claim, a Hard Rock Stadium spokesperson said, “we had nothing to do with this and any suggestion to the contrary is ludicrous.”
Miami Gardens resident Sylvia Perkins recognizes the economic value events as big as the Super Bowl and Formula 1 could have, but that the cons outweigh it.
“The traffic, the noise, the pollution and because there is something every weekend: It’s a football game, it’s a concert, Formula 1 racing,” said Perkins. “When does it stop?”
Miami-Dade commissioners are scheduled to discuss Formula 1 plans in a meeting on Tuesday.