A thought provoking August Meeting

Tuesday’s meeting of South Florida 912 at the Lantana Rd branch of the PBC Library covered new ground for us and we hope to have more discussions of the kind we had on the Dream Act.

We began the meeting with a brief introduction by Doug Armstrong, co-founder who led us in a prayer, followed by Jason Shields leading the Pledge of Allegiance. Shannon Armstrong – co-founder, welcomed the many new attendees along with the long-time members and gave a brief history of the group. Since our debate was to begin later in the evening, we front-loaded announcements and other topics including:

  • Candidates – Albert Key spoke about his run for the District 1 (County Commission) seat
  • America Supports Israel – Mel Grossman described the difficulties and push-back the small team of involved citizens trying to pull the event together, has encountered in Palm Beach Gardens.  But the March will go on, on 8/24 – and we will let South Florida 912 members know the details as soon as they are available.
  • Special CC3 Project – Fred Scheibl spoke about a new phone banking and activist project which will help build skills while affecting the County Budget.  For details and to volunteer go here. 
  • Value of the Month – Personal Responsibility – Shannon spoke to what it meant to her and tied it in to our role as activists as well.
  • Shannon announced that the 9/13 meeting will be the Palm Beach County Budget Hearing – that everyone should attend and make their voices heard or submit a card but attend in any case.  Those wanting something from the County will be there.  We need to be the voices of the tax-payer!

We took a short break during which folks got to mingle.

Ed Fulop took the mic and described the debate rules, introduced our debaters – Austin Parris (long-time 912er and former candidate for Fl House District 85) and Francisco Rodriguez (also long-time 912er and former candidate for Fl House District 83) arguing for and against the Dream Act respectively.  Ed began by giving an overview of the act.  Austin went first, giving a thoughtful examination as to why he thought those who were brought into the country, when under 18, illegally by their parents,  and who already are required by law to be in the public school system,  should be afforded the ability to become legal residents (green card status) and ultimately, citizens, given they meet the criteria established in the Dream Act.  Francisco countered with several issues – primarily constitutional (eg the Federal role in education is unconstitutional) and legal (the proposed law creates classes of people that can be given special privileges while excluding others), along with impacts to those who are citizens or who have achieved citizenship legally.  After asking each other a question, the audience was then allowed to ask 5 questions, followed by a heartfelt summation by each debater.  Both of these young men did an outstanding job!

Jason ran the 50:50 drawing and the meeting was closed.

We welcome suggestions for future discussions of the kind we had at this meeting – please send suggestions to info@southflorida912.org or comment here.  Additionally – what did you think of the meeting?  What do you think about the Dream Act – let’s continue the discussion through comments on this post.

Pictures from Fred and Iris

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