Tampa Bay Mayors to Light Region Purple, Honor Recovery Month
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 8/31/2022
Live Tampa Bay
Jennifer Webb, Executive Director, 727-320-6275
Tampa Bay Mayors to Light Region Purple, Honor Recovery Month
Tampa Bay Mayors Castor, Marlowe, Brown and Welch will join together on August 31 to light their buildings, bridges, and communities with the color purple to commemorate those who have lost their lives to overdose and to declare September as National Recovery Month in municipal proclamations. Coordinated by Live Tampa Bay, the displays are meant not only to draw attention to the devastating impact of the opioid epidemic in our communities, but also to demonstrate the strong regional commitment to connecting those who struggle with substance use to recovery.
Mayor Brown: “I am proud to join with our regional mayors to recognize those in our community that are in recovery. The addiction epidemic affects all of us in some way. Every person, every family, every community. It’s important not only to remember those we have lost, but also to celebrate those who have recovered and to show that recovery is possible. I invite our community to join us as we light our buildings purple in honor of those we have lost to the disease of addiction and declare September National Recovery Month in the city of Bradenton.” Where you can see the purple: Downtown parking garage.
Mayor Castor: “Today we remember the lives lost too soon due to addiction. We illuminate our city purple tonight to both honor them and mark the beginning of September as National Recovery Month. People can overcome the disease of addiction. Data show that meaningful employment is one of the most important factors in sustaining recovery. My administration’s focus on workforce development helps us meet individuals where they are now to begin building a healthy future for themselves and their families.” Where can you see the purple: downtown bridges and Tampa municipal buildings.
Mayor Marlowe: “I am honored to take part in this day of remembrance with my fellow mayors for those who have lost their lives to the disease of addiction. The city of New Port Richey is proud to light our bridge purple to not only remember those we have lost to addiction, but also to recognize those who have found recovery. We ask that our communities join us as we work to reduce barriers to recovery, combat stigma, and work together for solutions to this epidemic.” Where can you see the purple: municipal buildings in New Port Richey will be lit in remembrance.
Mayor Welch: “It is an honor to join mayors from across the region to remember those who have lost their lives to overdose and to recognize those who are bravely in recovery. Data show young people, communities of color, and LGBTQ+ individuals are disproportionally affected by this epidemic. Naloxone, increased access to treatment, and medication innovations are all shown to help combat addiction. We must work toward solutions for every member of our community, regardless of race, socio-economic status, or other factors. We are all in this together and must work together for a better tomorrow.” Where can you see the purple: Skyway bridge, St Pete Museum of Fine Art Kapok Tree and other downtown businesses.
Live Tampa Bay: “Each day there is an opportunity to help over 34 people take steps towards recovery,” says Bemetra Simmons, President and CEO of the Tampa Bay Partnership and Chair of Live Tampa Bay. “Recognition of Recovery Month by the coalition of Live Tampa Bay, as well as Mayors Castor, Marlowe, Brown and Welch, helps support our neighbors, colleagues, friends, and family members. Our region thrives when the people in our communities thrive.” Live Tampa Bay is a coalition of business, faith, and philanthropic leaders from the Tampa Bay region who have joined together with traditional frontline professionals for a single purpose: to reduce the number of lives lost to the opioid overdose epidemic by 50% in 5 years. This is the second large public awareness, anti-stigma effort coordinated by Live Tampa Bay in the past six months. Live Tampa Bay also kicked off their coalition in March with a luncheon, where a dozen business, community and political leaders from the Tampa Bay region stood up and shared their stories of loss and/or recovery to launch this anti-stigma campaign.
“In the Tampa Bay region, more than 30 people die from drug related overdoses each week, and 34 overdoses are successfully reversed each and every day by first responders,” says Jennifer Webb, Executive Director of Live Tampa Bay, citing statistics from FDOH’s Substance Use Dashboard.
“August 31st is National Overdose Awareness Day, but it’s important that we don’t end the conversation there,” states Webb, a former state Representative who is in long-term recovery and lost her own sister to the opioid epidemic. “We are carrying the discussion into National Recovery Month for the month of September because the data show that the more we share stories of recovery, the more likely people who struggle with active addiction will reach out for the they so desperately need.”
Since 2001 many community members, as well as government and non-government organizations, have held events to raise awareness and to commemorate those who have been lost to drug overdoses for International Overdose Awareness Day. National Recovery Month, which started in 1989, is a national observance held every September to promote and support new evidence-based treatment and recovery practices, the nation’s strong and proud recovery community, and the dedication of service providers and communities who make recovery in all its forms possible.
Call to Action: Live Tampa Bay invites all business, communities, and community members to join the commemoration by lighting their buildings, bridges, and community areas purple and recognizing those we have lost to addiction, as well as those in recovery.
Live Tampa Bay: www.livetampabay.org
Tampa Bay leaders launch anti-stigma campaign: https://livetampabay.org/our-stories-into-the-light-6/
National Recovery Month: https://www.samhsa.gov/recovery-month.
International Overdose Awareness Day: https://www.overdoseday.com/about-the-campaign/