Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor Ms. Celeste Gibbons-Peoples for her nearly four decades of public service to the Tampa Bay community. Her influence in our community follows a tradition of excellence pioneered by her late father, Walter Lee “Dirk” Gibbons, who was a well-known Negro League Baseball player locally and nationally. She has committed her life to telling the… Read more »
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor a true Tampa Bay historian who has served this community with great distinction for many decades. Mr. Charles “Fred” Hearns is one of the foremost historians of Tampa Bay and Florida history. And, since 2021, he has served as the first Curator of Black History for the Tampa Bay History Center (TBHC).
Mr. Hearns was born in the Bronx, NY and grew… Read more »
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor a great educator and leader in the Tampa Bay community, Dr. Davina Arleen Jones.
Dr. Jones is one of six children, born and raised in the Tampa Bay area. Her mother worked for the county library as a book processor and her father was a city bus operator while also serving as a full-time pastor. Dr. Jones’ parents instilled in her and her… Read more »
Mr. Speaker, I rise today during Black History Month with immense gratitude for the life of service of veteran and retired educator, Dr. John L. Smith, Jr. Because of Dr. Smith’s long-standing commitment and dedication to education and leadership, higher learning institutions throughout the United States are advancing diversity and inclusion at the highest levels. He charted a course… Read more »
Mr. Speaker, I rise today during Black History Month to celebrate a change agent and one of Tampa Bay’s most accomplished businesswomen, Ms. Bridgette Heller.
Ms. Heller was born and raised in St. Petersburg, Fla. She attended segregated schools through elementary school, but credits success during her formative years to being raised by a village of love that had very high standards for… Read more »
Mr. Speaker, I rise today with immense gratitude for Bishop Preston D.H. Leonard, who inspires us all through his lifetime of public service deeply rooted in his faith. For more than 60 years, he has served as pastor at Christ Gospel Church of St. Petersburg! Bishop Leonard is the only living pastor in the church’s history and has the longest tenure of any pastor in the St. Petersburg… Read more »
Mr. Speaker, I rise during Black History month to honor the life of an extraordinary leader, educator and pillar of the St. Petersburg community, Mr. Mordecai Walker.
Mr. Walker was born in Citrus Park in rural Hillsborough County on July 4, 1924, to Charlie and Pearl Walker. He attended segregated schools in Hillsborough County – Citrus Park School for colored children,… Read more »
Madam Speaker, this Black History Month, I am celebrating Tampa’s health care heroes. I rise today in immense gratitude of a life of service led by Heddie Sumpter, whose contributions of her time and talents are a living example of selfless service to others. Born in 1955 in Donalsonville, GA, and raised in Detroit, MI, where her family worked in the automotive industry, Heddie moved to… Read more »
Madam Speaker, this Black History Month, I am celebrating Tampa’s health care heroes. I rise today in admiration and respect for the service and leadership of Dr. Kevin Sneed, a tenured professor and the founding dean of the University of South Florida (USF) College of Pharmacy. Born in 1968, he was raised in Orlando, FL. His parents were both public school teachers and were part of the… Read more »
Madam Speaker, this Black History Month, I am celebrating Tampa’s health care heroes. Today I rise in admiration and respect for the public service and leadership of Dr. Dana Darien Glenn, who proudly serves our Veterans as Women’s Center Medical Director at the James A. Haley Veterans (VA) Hospitals and Clinics in Tampa, FL. Born in Pittsburgh, PA, in 1966, she relocated to… Read more »