ST. PETERSBURG — The inaugural gathering of the Pinellas Suncoast Black Republican Club drew an intergenerational, multi-ethnic audience of elected officials, local and state Republican Party representatives, new members and guests.
India Welch, a guest psalmist, ignited the audience with her rendition of Battle Hymn of the Republic. The evening was off to a momentous start. The focus was on the “Mosaic,” the collective of broken pieces, desperate situations and diverse people of color hailing from every nation, answering the call to follow African-American history and find their place among the Republican Party.
Sheila Griffin, the chair of the newly charted club, continued her encouragement to embrace the “party of our forefather” that will bring back entrepreneurship to the black community, restore family values and change the outlook for education through school choice and other options. Vice Chair, Cassandra Jackson, Interim Secretary, Tom Cuba and Treasurer, George Farrell each joined in as a voice for political views of freedom and liberty that follow Judeo-Christian traditions.
Her inspiration was followed by the guest speaker of the evening, from the county’s grass-roots political headquarters, the new Pinellas County Republican Executive Committee, Chairman, Nick DiCeglie. After his welcome, the Chairman delivered a rousing message on the crucial place this Black Republican Club serves as part of the county’s strategy. DiCeglie invited everyone to join as an emergent force for change.
A guest who came to see what it was all about, Ernest McDonald, stood up in the middle of the meeting and confessed that like many in the African-American community, his family is hardworking and conservative Christians. But, for voter registration he was registered as an “Independent.”
Seizing upon the opportunity for truthful dialogue, the audience, state and local political representatives and the Chair of the PCREC spoke about the unknown history of the Republican contributions. The history is not just in the founding of the party and state government, but in the recent gubernatorial offices where Bush and Christ appointed record numbers of firsts to the judicial bench at every level in the State of Florida.
The responsive dialogue of the crowd was electric. As each participant chimed in the comradery continued to build. Many times the language was different, but the interactive conversations about community and country found commonality in hard work, prosperity for our communities and values that support family life.
The Pinellas Suncoast Black Republican Club 2015 plan includes encouraging and training African-American leaders and those sensitive to our issues from communities from Tarpon Springs south to St. Petersburg.
“What our community has followed in the other party does not work,” said Griffin. “We don’t need one more entitlement program to teach our generations how to rely on government. What we need is empowerment and opportunity to stand up and facilitate our own destiny and raise up generations that fear God. We are industrious and ingenious; a great and gracious people and with the right tools we shall rebuild our communities.”
Monthly club meetings are held at the Sunshine Center, 330 5th St. S., St. Petersburg, at 6:30 p.m. on the first Thursday of the month. Please join us in March. For inquiry or reservation contact S. Griffin at firstname.lastname@example.org, or go topsbrcfl.com.