High profile panel to discuss black male grad rate in Pinellas
Why does Pinellas County have, at least according to one national report, the worst graduation rate in the country for black males?
St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster and Adora Obi Nweze, president of the Florida state conference of the NAACP, are among 14 panelists who will be discussing the plight of black males in Pinellas in a two-hour forum Oct. 7.
Put together by the Clearwater and St. Petersburg branches of the NAACP, the "comprehensive community discussion" follows a Schott Foundation analysis that concluded Pinellas has a 21 percent graduation rate for black males - far below the national rate of 47 percent and the lowest of any large school district in the country.
The district strongly disputes the numbers. Other data shows black students in Pinellas do worse academically than black students in other big Florida districts.
The discussion begins at 6:30 p.m. at Bethel Community Baptist Church, 2901 54th Ave. S in St. Petersburg. Here's the list of panelists:
NAACP STATE PRESIDENT ADORA OBI NWEZE
ST. PETERSBURG MAYOR BILL FOSTER
TARPON SPRINGS MAYOR DAVID ARCHIE
FORMER ST PETERSBURG COLLEGE ASSOCIATE PROVOST MYRTLE WILLIAMS
LIVEFREE DRUG COALITION EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR JACKIE DOHERTY
CLEARWATER POLICE CHIEF ANTHONY HOLLOWAY
PINELLAS DEPUTY SUPERINTENDENT JIM MADDEN
BETHEL COMMUNITY BAPTIST CHURCH PASTOR DR. MANUEL SYKES
ST. PETERSBURG COLLEGE SOCIAL SCIENCE DEAN DR. JOSEPH SMILEY
GIBBS HIGH SCHOOL PRINCIPAL KEVIN GORDON
NATION OF ISLAM STUDENT MINISTER LOUIS MUHAMMAD
PARENT CHRISTINE GASTON
CHAIRMAN OF ST. PETE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE SID MORGAN
AFRICAN PEOPLE’S SOCIALIST PARTY DIRECTOR CHIMERENGA WALLER
BAYNEWS 9 ANCHOR ERICA RIGGINS MODERATOR