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Hooper: Fight bigotry and racism in the Tampa Bay area

A predominantly black church in Tampa cancels a gay man's funeral.

A Hillsborough School Board candidate of Indian descent is smeared with a mailer so vile and racist she called a news conference to respond.

A St. Petersburg worker remains bitter about a white supervisor spray-painting his safety vest with KKK — largely because the supervisor remains employed and in charge.

As a community, are we learning from the past and evolving as a society? For every action we've taken against bigotry and racism lies an opposite reaction that suggests such adverse attitudes have simply gone underground.

What are the lessons?

The cliched "love the sinner, hate the sin," flawed in so many ways, still could have been a guide to New Hope Missionary Baptist Church to show some love for the deceased Julion Evans, his partner Kendall Capers and their families.

Campaigns can't hide behind a win-at-all-costs attitude when pathetically trying to defend the mailer attacking Dipa Shah. Racist appeals not only reflect the bigotry of some, they fuel it. There's a difference between going negative and going ugly.

St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman needs to be more vocal about his workers' rights, and he needs to conduct an honest review of the work environment because it might reveal problems run deeper than he realizes.

As individuals, we can employ gestures both big and small to foster a better peace. You can't underestimate the impact of a kind act. This week's bumper sticker, "Don't Forget to be Awesome," applies in so many ways.

That's all I'm saying.

Follow @hoop4you.

Correction: New Hope Missionary Baptist Church canceled the funeral of Julion Evans after learning of his partner Kendall Capers. This fact was misstated in a previous version of this article.

Hooper: Fight bigotry and racism in the Tampa Bay area 08/17/14 [Last modified: Monday, August 18, 2014 12:46pm]
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