Conversations: Sally Philips

Conversations: JULY 10

In this episode of Miami Corona Project Conversations, Artist Xavier Cortada invited Mayor Sally Philips of the City of South Miami to share her experiences during the coronavirus pandemic as a new mayor in her first elected position. She describes her city as the South Miami Keys, where neighbors can be of different municipalities and the need for the community to come together now more than ever. She also touches on communication roadblocks and the impact of coronavirus on South Miami’s businesses, comparing the “invisibility” of the virus to the invisibility of sea level rise.

Statement from Mayor Sally Philips

“The pandemic has laid another layer of sadness on top of several on-going concerns: (1) the current crumbling of the U.S.A. (2) the impact of climate change – specifically sea-level rise – and (3) the imminent economic crisis.  In trying to imagine that there is a sound reason why all these things are happening, I come up with an analogy. That is:  the earth is treating its infestation of people in the same the way that I treat the infestation in my house of carpenter ants. I try poison, sprays, swatting, tenting in attempts to slow or stop the inevitable damage to a house I improve and maintain. The earth drowns with tsunamis and flooding, swats with hurricanes, confuses with unpredictable temperatures and rainfall, poisons with a pandemic in order to get people to stop polluting the beauty it has been creating and nurturing for millennia.

The pandemic may not be the result of pollution, but its continuing spread results from the same indifference to consequences as pollution. For both global problems ways to improve them exist; unified global will power does not. Once, again, I am back to doing what I can in my own sphere and urging those around me to follow suit.”

About Mayor Sally Philips

Mayor Sally B. Philips earned her bachelor degree in English from Cornell University and a doctorate in Counseling Psychology from Boston University. Although she spent the early days of her career teaching English to junior high school students and counseling to masters level graduate students, most of her professional life was spent working in Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) which offers assessments, short-term counseling, referals and follow-up services to employees. After she moved to South Miami and became licensed in the state of Florida, she directed University of Miami’s EAP.

Since retiring with UM, Mayor Philips has served on South Miami’s Planning and Zoning Board for eight years and as its chair for two years, was on the Board of Trustees of the South Miami Police Officers’ Retirement Trust, and was tax counselor for the AARP Tax-Aide program. She was elected as Mayor of the City of South Miami on February 11, 2020.


About Xavier Cortada

Click here to read the artist’s bio.