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Apopka candidates face-off this month in virtual forum


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

Apopka City Council Seat 2, Diane Velazquez, Farmworkers Association of Florida, Florida Immigrant Coalition, Gene Knight, Hope CommUnity Center, Nick Nesta, Virtual Candidate Forum, Yesenia "Jesi" Baron


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