In August of 2020, the Betty J. Johnson North Sarasota Public Library was host to the Smithsonian’s Museum on Main Street Exhibition, Voices and Votes: Democracy in America. This opportunity allowed us to offer a variety of programming about democracy in Sarasota County and the state of Florida. One such program was a series called Local Color, which is based on the model that Liz Joyner with The Village Square created in Tallahassee, FL. The Local Color series is a place where we can come to know each other better through an idea-generating, deeply real, Hamilton-inspired, Technicolor town hall about race and how it relates to important topics in our community. This program and more were supported by Florida Humanities, Smithsonian Institution, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the Gulf Coast Community Foundation.
Our first Local Color series in the Fall of 2020 was hosted by Renee James Gilmore and focused on democracy in Sarasota, voting in democracy, and the political and racial divide. Our second series of Local Color features two programs to celebrate Sarasota County’s Centennial year, with Renee James Gilmore reprising her role as our wonderful host. Click here to view the recording of the first program, where our host opened a dialogue with three local residents around the theme: Business in the Black: 27th Street Businesses that Supported Newtown. It was a great discussion and sharing of memories of those businesses!
Join us live via Zoom for the next Centennial Edition of Local Color on Monday, May 17 at 7 p.m. where we will focus on the theme: Gold Stars in Sarasota’s Black Families. Renee will talk with the friends and family members of military troops who gave their lives in the name of freedom. The ultimate sacrifice was made by many of Sarasota’s people of color and you’ll hear the remarkable stories of a few at this event. Register here today!