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Mayor Cava Displays Leadership and Grace in the Face of Shocking Building Collapse

Marion Charatan

Posted on July 2, 2021 17:13

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Daniella Levine Cava, the Mayor of Miami-Dade County, has been in Surfside, FL front and center every day, giving updates in English and Spanish on continuing rescue efforts to find survivors after an unimaginable tragedy.

One of the most horrific events I ever heard about was the collapse of the Champlain Tower South in Surfside, FL in the early morning hours of Thursday, June 24. It is hard to even imagine how traumatizing it was for those trapped in the building — feeling swaying and hearing loud rumbling; knowing they were facing possible injury or death in seconds — and could do nothing about it. Worse yet, some likely knew they could be be buried alive. I cannot fathom the grief of family and friends of those who perished. To date, 120 people are still unaccounted for. Sadly, some will be found in the rubble that remains. Others will never be recovered. It is a tragedy that cannot adequately be described in words. It is unthinkable, cruel and terribly frightening. It translates to your worst nightmare. Yesterday, a similar nearby building was evacuated for fear that it, too, could be unsafe. People living in high rise condominium buildings now have something else to worry about: 'Am I safe in this kind of structure?' 

To say that Mayor Daniella Levine Cava displays grace under fire is an understatement. Mayor Cava, a Democrat, was the first woman to be elected as Miami-Dade County's Mayor in November 2020; in the middle of the pandemic. She hails from a nearly 40 year career in public service. Mayor Cava is licensed as a social worker and attorney; an alumni of Yale (MSW) and Columbia Universities (JD). Until she was elected as Mayor, Cava served as a Miami-Dade County Commissioner for 6 years. Cava's focus as a lawyer was on special needs children and immigrants at Legal Services of Greater Miami. She was also an advocate in the child welfare system as Legal Director for the Guardian Ad Litem Program. Cava is the first Jewish person to be elected Mayor. She is married to Dr. Robert Cava and the couple have two grown children. 

What strikes me about Mayor Cava is her humanity and compassion — and relentless dedication to getting help from FEMA and state and local agencies to all those affected by the catastrophe. In the face of such an extraordinary tragedy, she has been out there daily center and front, reassuring the public and taking the time to comfort families. Being bilingual in Spanish, Mayor Cava gives her updates in both English and Spanish. A sad footnote to this story is that some of the buildings' residents are 'illegal immigrants' and therefore might not be entitled to the help other survivors receive. However, the Mayor is making sure that people in that situation have access to any aid needed, in spite of their immigration status, which is absolutely the right thing to do. 

I would call the 5 foot tall Mayor a 'chief comforter.' There is something special about Daniella Levine Cava. The soft-spoken greying woman exhibits outstanding leadership skills. I would not be surprised to see this politician advance to a much higher position in the near future. 

Marion Charatan

Posted on July 2, 2021 17:13

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