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Manasota group assembles 10-day anti-racism series

Written by on Sunday, March 10, 2024

As schools and businesses are forced to stop discussion, events mobilize hundreds.

By Florence Fahringer

Original Air Date: Mar. 8, 2024

Host: Discussion of racism is now off-limits in Florida schools or businesses. But public spaces remain open and available. An anti-racism coalition has put together a packed 10-day series of events in Manasota that begins this Monday. Florence Fahringer raises the curtain.

Florence Fahringer: Get out your planners — The Manasota Anti-Racism Coalition’s ten days of anti-racism is just around the corner! From March 11-23, different community organizers will be hosting an event for nearly every day of the almost two-week long period.

Yoleidy Rosario Hernandez

Yoleidy Rosario Hernandez, former Dean of DEI at New College and current artistic director at Mosaic Movements, will be hosting the first day’s event, the “Foundations of Racial Equity Workshop.” At this event, participants will “explore and define race; examine the relationship between racism and power; map out the structure of racism; and consider their community’s position on the intercultural competency continuum.” It’ll be taking place at the Unitarian Universalist Church on Fruitville at 6:30 pm on March 11, and caps out at 35 participants — so if that interests you, be sure to register at www.sarasotapeacenter.org, on the ten days of anti-racism page, under the “our issues” tab. 

Next day’s event also takes place at the Unitarian Universalist Church, starting at 7 pm on March 12. It’s titled “Coming Together in Community: Applying the Lessons of Trauma and Resilience,” hosted by Father Paul Abernathy, pastor of Saint Moses, the Black Orthodox Christian church in Pittsburgh. Here he’ll be discussing Trauma Informed Community Development — “ways to work in trauma-affected communities, the power of partnerships, and how to build inclusive networks of support.” Registration is preferred, the link being available on the aforementioned page.

Father Paul Abernathy

On March 13, the Social Justice Alliance’s monthly Justice Social will be happening at the Leonard Reid House from 4-6 pm. You’ll hear from “groups working on racial justice issues,” as well as what’s in the future of the historic Leonard Reid House. No registration required, and food trucks will be present.

Leonard Reid House

On March 14 from 6:30-8:30 pm, the Church of the Palms’ Faith and Society Series will feature best-selling author and public theologian Jim Wallis as a speaker. No registration required. On March 15 from 3-5 pm will be the event “Be a Catalyst!” This is another event spearheaded by Father Paul Abernathy, though this time there’s a cap of 40 participants, so register if you’re interested. It’ll be hosted at the SEE Space, on South Orange Avenue.

Two overlapping events are happening on March 16. Starting at 10 in the morning, the Black Family Wellness Expo will be happening at the Light of the World Church. No registration will be required for this “free health and wellness event with testing and screening services, healthy cooking demonstrations, financial wellness, oral awareness and testing, and more! Among those screening services will be free mammograms.

Starting just an hour and a half later is the weekly ASALH Freedom School, happening at Girls Inc. on South Tuttle. Started as a response to Gov. Ron DeSantis’s crackdown on African-American history education in standard curriculums, and harkening back to the freedom schools of the Civil Rights Era, ASALH offers these weekly classes to students of all ages as an accessible means of learning about African-American history. Lunch will be provided at 11:30 am, and the class will start at noon. Registration for the Freedom School is required, so if you plan on attending, visit www.ASALH-manasotaFL.org, where you’ll find the “Freedom School” page under the “events and meetings” tab. 

March 17 was slated to be for the performance and later talkback of the musical Ruby, but this event has unfortunately already sold out. Though it was the only day featuring a talkback, every other day of the month besides Mondays will feature at least one performance, so if a musical set in Florida’s 1950s about an unlikely murder which features one of Florida’s most famous authors catches your interest, be sure to grab a ticket at www.westcoastblacktheatre.org.

On March 18 will be Equal Ground’s Black Political Empowerment Call. It’ll be an online call at 7 pm; the link will be available on the aforementioned page in days to come. 

Skipping over March 19, the 20th is another twofer: Fogartyville Community Center will be hosting an art exhibit called “Women of Resistance,” from 5:30-7 pm. The art explores women who were essential in the battle against fascism; registration is preferred. At the same time, from 5-7 pm will be the first Listening to Black Voices Panel Discussion. It’ll be happening at Art Center Sarasota; registration is required.

Women of Resistance

If you didn’t get the chance to go the day prior, there will be another Listening to Black Voices Panel on the 21st; same place, different time: from 11-1, featuring different guest speakers. Again, registration is required. Then later in the day from 5-7 pm, the event “Take a Walk in My Shoes” will be happening at the First Congregational United Church of Christ, featuring stories from members of different minority groups of their own personal experiences with discrimination; registration is required.

Skipping over March 22, on March 23, the ten days of anti-racism will be capped off by a final event: “Manasota Anti-Racism Coalition: What’s next?” At the Church of the Palms from 10-noon, community organizers will be reviewing the events of the past two weeks with attendees. Registration is preferred. 

For more details on any of these events, the whole ten days in general, or links to register for any of them, visit Sarasotapeacenter.org, where you’ll find the “ten days of anti-racism” page under the “our issues” tab.

This is Florence Fahringer, reporting for WSLR News. 


WSLR News aims to keep the local community informed with our 1/2 hour local news show, quarterly newspaper and social media feeds. The local news broadcast airs on Wednesdays and Fridays at 6pm.