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Florida Senate candidate touts honors from Trayvon Martin Foundation -- but misspells name



Mariana "Marili" Cancio has long been a supporter of local anti-violence groups, financially funding hotel rooms and T-shirts while successfully advocating for a witness protection law last year.

The Republican candidate for the Florida Senate District 40 race touted that work on a recent mailer. On one side, she posed with Tangela Sears, the founder of Miami Dade Parents of Murdered Kids, a support group Sears began after her own son was killed in 2015.

On the other side, the mailer said Cancio's efforts were recognized by Sears' organization and the Trayvon Martin Foundation.

But the foundation's namesake, who was from Miami and became the face of the #BlackLivesMatter campaign when his murder was publicized in 2012, was misspelled on the mailer. Trayvon was spelled with an "e."

"That's definitely not the spelling," said Kat Tynes, spokeswoman for the Trayvon Martin Foundation based out of Florida Memorial University in Miami Gardens. "it just takes a few seconds to do some research just to make sure the research is accurate."

When first asked about the typo by the Miami Herald, Cancio said, "There's been a lot of mailers."

Cancio sent the Miami Herald a photo of a plaque from the Miami Dade Parents of Murdered Kids and the Trayvon Martin Foundation, dated May 2016, recognizing Cancio for her "support, commitment and dedication on our journey to justice."

"I'm proud of the work I've done for this community." she said.

Tynes said Cancio was recognized at a joint event hosted by Sears and her organization, but that the Trayvon Martin Foundation has not "directly" honored Cancio.

But Sears says Cancio should not use her organization or the Trayvon Martin Foundation on the campaign trail and has asked Cancio's campaign to cease mentioning those groups.

"It's misspelled and it shouldn't have been there," Sears said, adding, "I don't mix our dead kids work up with politics. I support her and I'm willing to advise her without parading groups of dead kids."

Cancio gave no further comment.

Cancio is running against Democratic candidate Annette Taddeo, who won the Southwest Miami-Dade seat in the 2017 special election.