From staff reports and the Hope CommUnity Center
The Hope CommUnity Center (HCC), Farmworkers Assocation of Florida, and Florida Immigrant Coalition are hosting a Virtual Candidate Forum on October 21st at 6:30pm via Facebook Live featuring the four running candidates for Apopka City Council Seat 2: Yesenia “Jesi” Baron, Gene Knight, Nick Nesta, and Diane Velazquez.
Eli Garcia, Hope Community Center

The moderators for the forum will be Eli Garcia and Jacques Werleigh.

Garcia is a Community Organizer for HCC and has been described as an “inspirational champion for immigrant rights”, according to their Facebook page. When Garcia was a high school student, she came to Hope CommUnity Center for tutoring. As shared in the Global Sisters Report, Garcia was “the first in her family to go to college”. And now, years later with her social work degree in hand, she plans to “walk with her immigrant community”. She is careful to say, “We are not the voice of the voiceless; we want to help others find their voices. I will always be a ‘Sister of Hope.’”

J. Jacques Werleigh, Orange County Environmental Protection Division

Werleigh, originally from Port-au-Prince, Haiti and the Co-Coordinator with the Farmworkers Association (FA), will be the second moderator. In his current role with FA his focus is on the Agroecology Program, Civic Engagement, Volunteer Program and Communications. Previously Werleigh was the Strategic Engagement Coordinator at Orange County Environmental Protection Division, and studied Food Sustainability and Security at the University of South Florida.

Yesenia “Jesi” Baron
Gene Knight

The format of the forum will be a panel discussion between  the four candidates, with each candidate giving an opening statement, limited to two minutes each. Following the opening, the community organizations hosting the event will pose questions to the candidates for approximately 32 minutes, allowing the candidates to

Diane Velazquez
Nick Nesta

answer with a two minute limit. The community will then be able to ask the candidates their own questions, again allowing two minutes for the candidates to respond. And finally in closing, each candidate will be given one minute to present a closing statement.

During the event, translations will be available in español and kreyòl ayisyen.
Acompañe al Centro ComUnitario de la Esperanza, la Asociación Campesina de Florida y la Coalición de Inmigrantes de Florida el 21 de octubre a las 6:30 pm EST a través de FB Live para un panel de discusión con los candidatos para el puesto 2 del Concejo Municipal de Apopka. Traducciones se proporcionarán en español y kreyòl ayisyen.
Vin jwenn Sant Kominote Lespwa, Asosyasyon Travayè Jaden Florida yo, ak Kowalisyon Imigran nan Florida nan dat 21 Oktòb la apati de 6:30pm EST par mwayen FB an Dirèk pou yon panèl diskisyon avèk kandida ki nan kous elektoral pou 2e Chèz nan Konsèy Site Apopka. N’ap bay tradiksyon nan lang espanyòl ak kreyòl ayisyen


  1. At least, I know about this Apopka City Council candidate face-off coming up. Why did the other group have the Oct. 1st debate at Victory Church, sponsored by RSR, and then not bother telling anyone? If they did inform the residents of Apopka, it must have been just the RSR residents….ridiculous! Yeah, I’m mad! I would have liked to watch and hear the candidates that I don’t know, and who I am not familiar with, speak, and check them out. While all the attention was on Biden, Trump, Harris, and Pence, on the national scene, they snuck in our own hometown political debate…..just for that, let the mud slinging began….lol. Well, you know what, usually, they let us all know when they are staging the debates, and go overboard inviting us, because usually they CHARGE AN ADMISSION FEE to get your foot in door, and am not referring to the Farmworker debate!

  2. I have recently seen the city parking lot behind the downtown stores, and I really love the way it looks. Very nice, and I especially love those big palms! I believe there were about 20 of them, and I saw some new trees planted along the bike trail, behind the Kit Land Nelson Park. They look nice too. I will have to stop, and look at them up close to see what kind they are. Now, I wish someone, either the city, the county, or the state DOT, would install some guard rails along Piedmont Wekiva Road at the overflowing lake on the corner, at the Hobby Lobby shopping plaza, to keep someone from driving off into the deep lake and drowning!! So dangerous, and nobody does anything about the situation that is a tragedy waiting to happen……..


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