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Pinellas Remembers to Host First Annual Gala




Pinellas Remembers Community Project Coalition, Inc

Danny E. White, President
What: 1st Annual Gala
Where: University of South Florida St. Petersburg, USC Ballroom, 200 6th Ave S 33701
When: Saturday, September 17, 5:30-8pm
Details: Fundraising gala to promote Pinellas Remembers and increase membership.

Pinellas Remembers To Host Gala Featuring Guest Speaker Mr. Eric Deggans

In celebration of its achievements, Pinellas Remembers Community Remembrance Project Coalion will host a fundraising gala on Saturday, September 17, 5:30pm, at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg Campus, USC Ballroom, 200 6th Ave South, 33701. Mr. Eric Deggans will be the guest speaker. Mr. Deggans is National Public Radio’s (NPR) first full-time TV critic. He formally was a TV/media critic for the Tampa Bay Times. Deggans is also the author of ‘Race-Baiter: How The Media Wields Dangerous Words to Divide A Nation,’ where he dissects the powerful ways modern media feeds fears, prejudices and hate.

Pinellas Remembers Community Remembrance Project Coalition, Inc, commonly called Pinellas Remembers, was conceptualized in 2017 and incorporated in 2020. The mission is to memorialize victims of racial terror (lynching) that happened in Pinellas County. The group turned to the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI), led by celebrated human rights attorney Bryan Stevenson, to leverage their Community Remembrance Project Coalition (CRPC) memorial marker program. The CRPC program provides an avenue for local entities to have a memorial marker installed at or near the site of a lynching.

The Coalition grew over time to some 90 members, comprised of an all-volunteer group of socially conscious people representing a broad range of professions, from educators to faith leaders, to legal experts, to healthcare, to finance. Generous grants from the Tampa Bay Rays Foundation and the Foundation for a Healthy St. Pete, fueled the Coalition’s efforts. The group worked tirelessly to unearth historical accounts of two known lynchings. After enduring several unforeseen setbacks, primarily due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Coalition would finally unveil a marker on February 23, 2021, in memory of John Evans. The unveiling was attended by city dignitaries, executive representatives from the Rays and the Foundation for a Healthy St. Pete. Mr. Evans was lynched on November 12, 1914, before a crowd of some 1,500 white men, women, and children spectators at the corner of 9th Street (now Dr. MLK, Jr St) and 2nd Avenue South. The City of Saint Petersburg, FL, donated land to install the memorial marker.

In May 2021, the Coalition held a candlelight vigil in honor of Parker Watson. Mr. Watson was lynched by a mob of armed men on May 9, 1926. The location of the killing is still under review. On June 12, 2021, at the Carter G. Woodson African American Museum, the Coalition hosted an essay and arts contest ceremony where thousands of dollars were awarded to local students for their scholastic and artistic achievements.

Tickets to the gala are $40 for adults and $10 for students (program suitable for grades 9 through college senior). Visit Eventbrite to purchase. Food and beverage included. Garage parking is free.

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