Sunday, April 22, 2018
News Roundup

Fulfilling King's dream requires effort, unity

Calvin Butts, pastor of New York's Abyssinian Baptist Church and president of the State University of New York College at Old Westbury, delivered a sterling speech Monday at the Tampa Organization of Black Affairs' annual Martin Luther King Jr. Leadership Breakfast.

Reflecting his belief in education and faith, Butts' address was both scholarly and theological. He quoted prophets, politicians, poets and even Stevie Wonder.

By the time he finished, Butts had blessed the diverse audience of more than 800 with pearls of wisdom for every race and ethnicity as he underscored the theme of "Remembering the Dream, Delivering the Promise."

The most lustrous of those pearls was a call for Tampa Bay residents to engage in the political process. Butts warned that the community must grow weary of "politicians who promise a lot and give nothing."

He pushed people to care not only about presidential races, but also every contest from city and county elections to state and congressional battles.

"If you believe in the dream, it doesn't matter whether you're black or white," Butts said. "What matters is that you join together and hold political leadership accountable."

Yet we live in a city where the African-American community is increasingly apathetic about local politics. Privately, political consultants are already saying the black vote doesn't matter unless it's a presidential race.

It's well-documented that the predominantly white enclaves of South Tampa play the biggest role in deciding Tampa elections, and it's naive to believe that doesn't determine which neighborhoods get the most attention from public officials.

If African-Americans in the pockets of east Tampa, West Tampa and Sulphur Springs don't get involved, we will go from politicians who promise a lot to politicians who promise nothing. If suburban African-Americans don't reach back and call for change in the inner city, it will never happen.

It's simply not enough to have singular black representatives on the City Council, the County Commission and the School Board. Accountability may begin with them, but it must extend to every elected official. And it can — through collaboration.

Go back to Butts' quote. Your race doesn't matter.

People in Hyde Park who believe in the dream must demand change in West Tampa.

The active participants of Seminole Heights must challenge officials to help the impoverished in east Tampa.

Everybody in New Tampa and Temple Terrace needs to ask for improvements in the university area, unless they believe it's a good idea to have the University of South Florida next to one of the region's most crime-ridden neighborhoods.

It's this universal approach that constitutes the dream. As Butts so eloquently noted, King simply articulated what God had been trying to say to the world for centuries when he stood in front of the Lincoln Memorial and called for America to truly be the nation where all men are created equal.

"It is not a dream that's particular to any racial group," Butts said. "It is not a dream that's particular to any religious group; it is not a dream that's particular to any ethnic group."

We hear so much about "Get Out the Vote," but in 2014, it needs to be get out the newspaper, get out the computer, get informed and — most importantly — get together. Turn the dream on.

That's all I'm saying.

Comments
How Baker Mayfield can benefit the Bucs

How Baker Mayfield can benefit the Bucs

TAMPA — The buzz at the top of this year's NFL draft is a class of talented quarterbacks deep enough to challenge the all-time record of six in the first round, set in 1983 with a group that included future Hall of Famers John Elway, Jim Kelly ...
Updated: 1 minute ago
It’s Earth Day. Here are 11 stories about how climate change affects Florida.

It’s Earth Day. Here are 11 stories about how climate change affects Florida.

Happy Earth Day, Florida!In the spirit of the holiday that recognizes our planet’s clean air, water and land, here are 11 stories the Tampa Bay Times has published about how climate change affects the Sunshine State.1. The Florida keys have to elevat...
Updated: 26 minutes ago
Ex-NFL kicker Jay Feely apologizes for ‘joke’ gun photo

Ex-NFL kicker Jay Feely apologizes for ‘joke’ gun photo

Former NFL kicker Jay Feely, who was born in Odessa and starred at Tampa Jesuit, has apologized for a photo he intended as a joke, showing him holding a gun as he poses with his daughter and her prom date."Wishing my beautiful daughter and her date a...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Deputies: Florida man on LSD knocks out teen girl at RaceTrac while her parent pumps gas

Deputies: Florida man on LSD knocks out teen girl at RaceTrac while her parent pumps gas

ST. PETERSBURG — A man punched a 13-year-old girl inside a RaceTrac convenience store on Saturday, knocking her unconscious as her parent pumped gas outside, Pinellas deputies reported.Kolbe Wayne Smith, 27 and of St. Petersburg, now faces charges of...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Perspective: The Heartland to Headwaters Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition finds frustration and fear seeking a safe path for wildlife across Interstate 4

Perspective: The Heartland to Headwaters Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition finds frustration and fear seeking a safe path for wildlife across Interstate 4

The original Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition in 2012 was inspired by how the Florida black bear roamed — and the space it needed to do so successfully. In 2010, expedition team member Joe Guthrie conducted research through the University of Kent...
Updated: 2 hours ago
4 dead in Nashville Waffle House shooting; suspect sought

4 dead in Nashville Waffle House shooting; suspect sought

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A man wearing nothing but a coat stormed a Waffle House restaurant in Tennessee before dawn Sunday and shot four people to death, according to police, who credited a customer with saving lives by wresting a weapon away from t...
Updated: 5 hours ago
District softball schedules for Tampa Bay

District softball schedules for Tampa Bay

Class 9A-8 (higher seed hosts)Tuesday: No. 3 Alonso at No. 2 Palm Harbor University, 4; No. 4 Sarasota Riverview at No. 1 Newsome, 7Thursday: Final, 4 or 7 (depending on who hosts)Class 8A-4 at Strawberry Crest Tuesday: No. 1 Wharton vs. No. 4 Wiregr...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Teen killed in crash remembered as

Teen killed in crash remembered as "always smiling and laughing"

WEEKI WACHEE — Seth Leathers was on his way to play basketball at his church when he was killed Wednesday in a car crash on U.S. 19 in Spring Hill, according to family friend Laurie Pike.Leathers, 16, was the passenger in a car driven by his friend G...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Rays thoughts are with ex-teammate Danny Farquhar

Rays thoughts are with ex-teammate Danny Farquhar

Members of the Rays organization sent their thoughts and prayers to former teammate Danny Farquhar, who was hospitalized Saturday night in Chicago in stable but critical condition after suffering a brain hemorrhage caused by a ruptured aneurysm.Farqu...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Baseball: Bulls edge Knights to even series

Baseball: Bulls edge Knights to even series

After a two-hour weather delay Saturday evening at USF, the remote local threat of lightning finally dissipated.The postseason intensity never did.For the second consecutive night, the UCF-USF baseball series delivered, this time with the Bulls (25-1...
Published: 04/22/18