On Inauguration And MLK Day, South Floridians Agree That Diversity Takes 'Work'

Jan 22, 2013

Audience inside Adrienne Arsht Center's Knight Concert Hall watching simulcast of Monday's inauguration
Credit Christine DiMattei

In recent years, parallels have often been drawn between South Florida's diverse population and the multi-cultural America that President Obama will be presiding over for a second term.  But some South Floridians feel that cooperation between various racial and cultural groups is still a work in progress.

Among the hundreds of who filed into the Adrienne Arsht Center Monday to watch a live simulcast of President Obama's inauguration was Janette Kemp of Tamarac.  She says that when it comes to multiculturalism, our region has more work to do.

"It's not there yet. I think there are so many different little entities here in South Florida,” says Kemp.  “There are segmented communities by race, by income.  So, there's a long way to go.”

Arsht Center Chair-Elect Alan Fein has been living in South Florida for nearly 53 years.  He’s now a resident of Key Biscayne, but grew up in the Westchester section of Miami-Dade.

“We were all forced into a situation where we had to work together.  Hispanics, African-Americans, the white Americans like me,” says Fein.  “And we all figured out how to get along. And it's something we all need to do more of.  And I think our President is leading the way.”

U.S. Census data shows that roughly 66% of South Florida's population is comprised of minorities.  But a study by the Pew Research Center suggests that the rest of the United States will look more like South Florida in less than half a century.  The report predicts that minority groups are on track to become a U.S. majority population within 37 years.