Why I'm Running
My name is Gepsie Metellus and I’m running for County Commission District 3. I was born into a family of strong women who were my role models. My single-mother left Haiti when I was 8 to prepare a way for us in the United States and I immigrated to join her a few years later at the age of 12. My mother paved a way for us in our new country. Although she was an early childhood educator in Haiti, like all immigrants, she took any job in order to provide for her family. She worked in a shoe factory, as a hotel maid, and caring for the elderly. Her strong work ethic instilled in me a sense of discipline, responsibility, and determination. Growing up in my household there was always talk about Haiti, and the brutality of the then Duvalier dictatorship; there was always a sense of engagement in what’s happening around us, and compassion for the suffering of others.
I relocated to Miami with my family upon graduating from college. Miami was ground zero for the growing Haitian refugee crisis as thousands of Haitians were arriving on the Florida shores. I didn’t hesitate to contribute, to participate and before I knew it I was involved in various community causes and organizations. It’s through that involvement that I began to develop a better understanding of the divisions, challenges, diversity, and the great solidarity between the Haitian, African-American, Anglo, and Hispanic communities. I developed a great rapport with many in the Hispanic and Anglo communities working on common issues; I also developed life-long relationships in the African-American community throughout my career in education. These experiences with different segments of the community uniquely qualified me to become a Miami Dade County Public Schools Intergroup Relations Specialist working with staff, students, and teachers, bringing our various ethnic communities together, focusing on what we have in common, our shared stories and struggles.
In 1996, I was offered the opportunity to work in County government for Commissioner Carey-Shuler, helping her office directly respond to the needs of District 3, from Liberty City to Overtown, Morningside, Upper East Side, Wynwood, and Allapatah, while deepening my understanding of these communities and my relationships with residents. Through my work at the county, I learned first-hand the inner-workings of our government.
The past 20 years of my life have been spent leading a non-profit organization, serving thousands of vulnerable residents, working hand-in-hand with civic organizations, public and private agencies and institutions to address the needs and issues in our diverse community.
In all of these roles, as an educator, a community activist, a civic and non-profit leader, my experiences have put me in front of the challenges, the struggles, the suffering, the aspirations, and also the opportunities that exist in District 3. I will be a County Commissioner who understands first-hand the needs of District 3 because, for the past 20 years, I have been working to address the challenges working families face every day.
Today, District 3 needs a champion who can harness broad-based support to tackle poverty in our community; to address crime as a symptom of the lack of economic opportunity in our community; to embrace a countywide approach to affordable housing policy to ensure that those that work in Miami-Dade can afford to live here, and to address quality of life issues such as traffic congestion and transportation.
I’m running for the County Commission to ensure no one is left behind, no one is forgotten and no one in District 3 feels that the county isn’t working for them. I am asking for your vote so that I can champion the issues most important to our District 3 communities and families.