Page 2 - Florida Sentinel 5-3-16 Online Edition
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Liberty Council Leader To Bring
West Tampa Group Tells Residents To Stay Alert
Gun To Restroom
BY LEON B. CREWS Sentinel Staff Writer
The Tampa Presbyterian Village Apartment complex is gone. Next will be North Boulevard Homes, and for the residents of West Tampa, there are even more changes coming.
The West Tampa Alliance (WTA) wants residents to stay alert and on top of every- thing that’s going on.
“We feel it’s our responsi- bility to make sure the resi- dents are aware of the changes that have already taken place, and the ones that are coming,” said Heem Baisden.
“We all know what’s going on at the Riverfront Park, and there have been rumors that the Oakhurst Square Complex is going to undergo some changes.”
The tax base of the com- munity will also change, and Community Activist, Dwight Bolden, has spear-
“The best way to accom- plish that is to stay on top of all the meetings and an- nouncements, and either lis- ten to or watch City Council and County Commission meetings, as well as meetings with the West Tampa C.A.C.”
Baisden said the WTA is still in the planning stages of a big Juneteenth event, and the hope is the event will bring everyone closer to- gether, and discussions will begin on the future of West Tampa.
“We all know that what holds a community together are the religious institutions, the businesses, and the resi- dents. We have to combine those three into a central group.
“It’s also important that residents know that there must be a plan in place be- fore any dollars are allocated for any project. That plan will come from the C.A.C., and the community groups will offer suggestions.”
The president of Liberty Council, the religious law group behind the recent wave of anti-transgender bathroom bills, announced that she plans to carry a gun with her to the women’s restroom.
Anita Staver’s twitter message comes in response to an announcement by Target that the company will not discriminate against transgender cus- tomers or employees.
According to Nadine Smith, Executive Director of Equality Florida, Liberty Council’s tweet advising people to bring firearms into bathrooms is outra- geous, dangerous, and irre- sponsible. The type of fear-mongering promoted by this hate group is not only reprehensible, but it is putting lives in danger.
“I have contacted Liberty Council directly and hope they will accept the invita- tion to meet with Equality Florida and sit down with members of the transgender community to see the peo- ple who suffer most directly
the consequences of their dangerous and dehumaniz- ing rhetoric, Executive Di- rector of Equality Florida.
Fortunately, this type of appeal to fear is being broadly denounced. Con- servative commentators, law enforcement officials, and those on the frontline combating violence have called this misguided and dangerous; a draconian so- lution to a non-existent problem.
“We hope Liberty Council will back away from this reckless strategy and stop inciting hostility toward transgender people.”
headed an effort to make sure residents know about impending meetings that im- pact those fees, as well as what’s going on with plans to swap land in the area and a proposed rezoning. He con- tinues to schedule meetings at the West Tampa Library and other locations to keep residents informed of any changes.
“We are trying to stop the habit of people complaining after all the changes have come,” said Baisden.
Voter Education Needs To Be Top Priority
BY LEON B. CREWS Sentinel Staff Writer
When it comes to local and state elections, voter turnout is always low. In the African American commu- nity, the numbers are espe- cially low.
“It has nothing to do with voter registration, or the lack of information being made available to the voters,” said Dee Jackson.
“What is really comes down to is a lot of African Americans still don’t see the role politics plays in their day-to-day lives.”
Jackson said it would probably be better to have voter education seminars than so many voter registra- tion drives.
“I think the candidates need to make themselves more interesting so people will vote for them. I also think the candidates spend far too much money cam- paigning in areas where peo- ple aren’t going to vote for them.
“What’s needed is a bigger effort to educate Black peo- ple on how important it is for them to vote, especially when it concerns matters that affect the way they live,
where they live, employment opportunities, and their abil- ity to care for their children.”
Jackson said he plans to meet with officials from the Supervisor of Elections Of- fice to come up with a plan or strategy to give voters more information about the candidates and also about referendums so they will know what they’re voting for.
“Far too often I hear peo- ple saying they didn’t know. Even though notices were sent out and meetings were held, a lot of people still had no idea about critical changes occurring in their community.
“Don’t assume that the av- erage person understands political terms, and don’t as-
sume they are going to al- ways vote blindly regardless of what the item is, or who they’re voting for.”
Jackson said he discov- ered in talking with people in the community that many of them have opinions about the candidates, but they know nothing about how voting for a particular candi- date will work for them.
“If we can make people understand that we all basi- cally want the same things, then it will be easier putting the right candidate in office.
“Don’t ever vote for some- one based on what someone else has told you, or because you recognize their name. Study the candidates and de- cide for yourself.”
NADINE SMITH Executive Director of Equality Florida

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