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New St. Petersburg expo aims to use MLK Day as inspiration

In celebration of Martin Luther King Jr., the expo wants to provide the community with tools for improvement.
To celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and MLK Expo will be held Sunday in St. Petersburg to support local businesses and provide resources in what has been a tough year.
To celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and MLK Expo will be held Sunday in St. Petersburg to support local businesses and provide resources in what has been a tough year. [ DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Tampa Bay Times ]
Published Jan. 14

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is celebrated as a day of unity in St. Petersburg. Seeing that 2020 was a year filled with civil unrest and struggles from COVID-19, some local authors and business owners are organizing an MLK Expo to use the holiday as a way to bring unity, peace and practical skills to help weather unusual times.

“We really wanted to find a way to give back to our community and to show them how to be prepared in a mental and physical capacity,” said Janaye Hardy, owner of Mindset Life Coaching.

The Martin Luther King Jr. Day Expo takes place from noon to 6 p.m. Sunday outside at the Villas at Flagler Pointe Apartment Homes, 2150 62nd Ter. S in St. Petersburg. It features 30 majority Black Tampa Bay area vendors and it was created to demonstrate how “you, the people of our communities, are the bridge and the gap is our economy.”

In a year that has been tough on both businesses owners and households, organizers intend to have resources to help with financial stability, health and wellness, community development, career preparedness, life insurance, literacy and mental health.

“The $600 (stimulus) check just wasn’t enough,” said Lola B. Morgan, owner of A Griots Corner, literary blog and bookstore. “This event allows you to have the physical resources at your fingertips and allows you to get the right intentions in order for your dreams to manifest successfully.”

Other aspects of the family event include a kid’s corner, food trucks, book readings and a raffle.

In honor of the slain civil rights icon’s “I Have a Dream” speech, everyone in attendance is encouraged to write a letter to St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman that expresses their dreams for themselves, their schools and the community.

“We want everyone to write letters to our mayor expressing the community’s needs so they can see the visible changes that might occur themselves,” Morgan said.

Letters can be dropped off at the event or at Cultured Books Pop-Up, 833 22nd St. S, St. Petersburg.

Masks are required for entry to the expo, and temperatures will be screened at the door.