Shirley Gibson, Miami Gardens’ Inaugural Mayor, Passes Away at 79

Shirley Gibson, a pivotal figure in the history of Miami Gardens and its first-ever mayor, has passed away quietly, as confirmed by an official of the city on Monday evening. She was 79 years old.

Mayor Rodney Harris, the present leader of the city, shared the solemn news of Gibson’s passing with CBS News Miami. The exact cause of her passing has not been disclosed publicly.

“We grieve the loss of a cherished former mayor, the very first leader of our city,” Mayor Harris expressed. “Our entire community extends its deepest sympathies to her bereaved family.”

Mayor Harris also announced that, in a sign of respect, the flags in Miami Gardens would be flown at half-mast on Tuesday in memory of Shirley Gibson, who previously served as an officer with the Miami-Dade Police Department before venturing into the realm of politics.

The roots of Miami Gardens date back to 2003, when impassioned local activists joined forces to demand increased representation. This movement ultimately led to the city’s official incorporation, with Shirley Gibson playing a pivotal role. Miami Gardens is renowned for hosting the acclaimed ‘Jazz in the Gardens’ event, featuring nationally renowned entertainers, a project initially championed by Gibson.

“Hers was a pioneering spirit that molded the very essence of our city,” Mayor Harris declared. “The void created by her passing will be profoundly felt for an extended period.”

Following the construction of what is now the iconic Hard Rock Stadium, political activists united, as reported.

The proposal was put to a vote in 1995 but was initially rejected. However, the determined residents regrouped and reintroduced the matter to the ballot seven years later.

Considering the city’s arduous path to its official establishment, Shirley Gibson, in an interview with the Miami New Times in August, reflected, “Becoming a city was a labor of love. Our first attempt in 1995 failed, and it took us seven long years to make our dream a reality.”

Shirley Gibson served as the mayor of the burgeoning city until she reached her term limits, leaving an enduring legacy in Miami Gardens.

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