In an effort to increase visibility and promote partnership throughout the entire city, the St. Petersburg branch of the NAACP is launching a monthly podcast titled “When We Fight, We Win” in collaboration with the St. Pete Catalyst.
Founded in 1909, The National Association for the advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is America’s oldest, largest and most recognizable civil rights organization. According to its website, the organization boasts over 500,000 members and supporters advocating for civil rights and leading grassroots campaigns for equal opportunity and voter mobilization.
Esther Matthews, founder of All Administrative Solutions, became president of the St. Pete NAACP on Jan. 1, 2021. Upon taking the helm, Matthews vowed to serve as an approachable and engaging leader. She believes partnering with the Catalyst will help achieve those goals and looks forward to connecting with the city through a new platform.
“I’m really excited about the visibility that we will receive and hoping that our community – and not just any particular faction of the community but the entire city of St. Pete – will have the opportunity to see how cool we are as a branch and the hard work that we’re doing,” said Matthews. “I think oftentimes it goes unnoticed, but there is a lot of work taking place, and so we’re excited about the visibility of it.”
Matthews plans to bring in special guests for the podcast and said she would be very intentional with her selections. She said one of the first guests she hopes to have on the show is NAACP Florida State Conference President Adora Obi Nweze. Matthews said Nweze’s insight would help set the tone for the podcast’s future. As the podcast moves forward, Matthews said it would provide a platform for local voices.
The vision for the podcast is hosting meaningful conversations with a varied focus. One episode may take a deep dive into specific public policy, while another is personality-driven through guest speakers. Matthews said the podcast’s themes encompass the NAACP’s “Game Changers.”
These six Game Changers address significant areas of inequality facing African Americans and are the basis of the NAACP’s Strategic Plan. They include economic sustainability, education, health, public safety and criminal justice, voting rights and political representation and expanding youth and young adult engagement.
“Making sure we touch on all of those topics and bringing someone to put a voice to it,” said Matthews. “Honestly, I think all six of them are vital to St. Petersburg.”
Matthews believes the new platform will help those that feel their voices go unheard realize many stakeholders are tackling the difficult issues on their behalf. She also plans to elevate the average resident’s concerns and focal points to the forefront of the community conversation.
The NAACP began through a strong alliance between races, and Matthews noted the diversity on the organization’s executive committee.
“Certainly, we can always do a better job of education and being welcoming to those that may not understand that’s how the NAACP was launched,” she said. “And we’re working really hard to do that.”
Matthews stressed that the NAACP’s mission states the organization stands for all people. She said every voice is as important as the next at the table, and encourages people to stand together to move the needle on critical issues happening within the city.
“That is why this podcast is so important,” said Matthews. “This will allow that all people, all person’s concepts to be understood by many.”
St. Petersburg City Council heard the results of racial disparity and systemic racism studies in recent months and subsequently voted to acknowledge and approve the studies’ recommendations. Matthews called those positive steps in the right direction, but noted resolutions did not pass unanimously. She added that many people are still afraid to revamp and reimagine the systems that have long been in place.
“We have a long way to go,” she said. “I hope that we don’t just utilize the words as buzzwords to lead conversations, but there’s some true intentional movement beyond making change.”