Geri Clark's Destiny

Davie's first black elected official has had to conquer the town's racist past... and her own fear

Her first "race incident" happened October 18 of last year in a testy exchange with the woman who inspired her vault into politics -- council member Kathy Cox. At issue was the purchase of a second fire truck for the town's fire department. Clark was for it. Cox spoke against it. Cox was offended when Clark referred to her as "she" instead of as "council member Cox." After correcting her several times, Cox told the town's first black council member to "kindly take your little insults back to the 'hood."

At the next meeting, Geri said she was sorry for "baiting" Cox. "I apologized because, in my opinion, she is a racist, and you can't get a racist to apologize to someone they think is beneath them," Geri says.

Cox supporters lined up to criticize Geri. Knowing that Geri might lose her cool, Richard was in the audience. "He told me to just keep my eyes on him and I was going to be OK," she says. "He knows I am a sensitive, emotional person. I get angry quick. He didn't want me to lose sight." She kept her focus, and the fire department got a second truck. Cox has since left the council and moved from Davie to Southwest Ranches. She declined to comment on the dispute when contacted by New Times.

Clark's campaign workers celebrate victory at the Oar 
House
Geri Clark
Clark's campaign workers celebrate victory at the Oar House
Geri and Richard embrace at the victory party
Geri Clark
Geri and Richard embrace at the victory party

The Clark family faces more trials. In July, Isiah was charged with sexual battery and indecent assault stemming from allegations made by his two stepdaughters. The case has not gone to trial. Richard contends it's the result of a vendetta against the Clarks.

Although life might be easier somewhere else, Richard says Geri and he plan to remain in Davie, raising their children and pushing for change, at least until the four children are grown. Then, says Richard, he might consider moving -- to somewhere more country, the way Davie was when he grew up, "with woods nearby."

When her term ends in 2003, Geri will run again, she says. And at least four of the people who worked on her campaign say they'll eagerly help. "She's my hero," Christopher says. "Her heart and her head are in the right place."

Richard will be there for Geri too. "I think she's found her calling," he says.

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