Angela Bassett with her childhood youth director, Watson Haynes and Rev. Alvin Miller at the South St. Petersburg Canvass Kick-off Tues., Oct. 25.
BY FRANK DROUZAS, Staff Writer
ST. PETERSBURG –When asked where in Florida she wanted to stop off to campaign for Hillary Clinton, Golden Globe Award-winning actress Angela Bassett didn’t have to think twice about her answer, St. Pete!
The What’s Love Got to Do with it actress showed her support for presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton Oct. 25 by participating in the South St. Petersburg Canvass Kick-off. While thanking supporters and volunteers, she highlighted the importance of early voting, which began in Florida on Monday.
“This election, the stakes are higher than ever,” Bassett told the small crowd on hand. “We don’t want the progress that has been made in the last eight years under President Obama to start receding.”
Standing on the corner of 22nd Street and Ninth Avenue, just a few blocks from where she grew up in Jordan Park, Bassett said, “It’s really about getting out and encouraging people and energizing them to go to the polls and make their voices heard.”
What concerns her most about a Donald Trump presidency?
“Oh, the ineptitude! The disconnect!” she said, calling his divisiveness and racism “disturbing” and “appalling.” She added simply “he has to be stopped.”
Bassett said we as a country need to keep moving forward, and warned against undoing all the gains that have been made under Obama’s presidency in terms of education, better wages and the protection of our country.
“But we still have a lot to do,” she said. “I think with her [Clinton] that’s our best chance for change and for growth.”
Bassett, who attended Boca Ciega High School, said that Florida is an important state in this election, and added that it is a microcosm of the world. She reminisced about her days in St. Pete and noted how things have changed since she left in 1976.
“My best friend’s funeral home was right here, Sanchez Funeral Home,” she pointed out. “My other girlfriend’s father’s auto shop was there. Stewart Memorial, where I grew up and went to church was right there.”
Showing her deep roots to the area, Bassett pointed to where her great grandfather’s, the Rev. Samuel Stokes, church was; her grandmother’s washhouse, which was next to Royal Theater, Mercy Hospital and where John “Geech” Black ran his popular barbeque joint.
“This was a thoroughfare,” she said “they’re all rich in my memory.”
She believes that Clinton’s small business plan could help continue to revitalize the Deuces with easier acquisition of loans that could enable entrepreneurs and small business owners to “live out their dream” and breathe new life into the area.
“We have a competent, experienced, intelligent, get-things-done candidate, and that’s Hillary Clinton!” she said. “So we want to back her and do all we can to put her in that White House.”
Voters can find their early voting location at iwillvote.com/locate.