The World’s Hopeful Young Generation event

The late Rev. Dr. Shawn EE Thomas’s sisters held the World’s Hopeful Young Generation event a year after his tragic drowning.

BY DEXTER MCCREE, Feature Writer

ST. PETERSBURG — One year ago, tragedy struck in St Petersburg, especially in the hearts of the youth, when Rev. Dr. Shawn EE Thomas drowned in Lake Seminole Park, resulting from a boating accident. Today, some of those same youthful hearts are part of “The World’s Hopeful Young Generation,” celebrating the life and legacy he left behind.

Approximately 100 people joined the festivities of food, games, bounce house and the same joyful spirit Rev. Thomas possessed at the community day festivities held at the Thomas “Jet” Jackson Recreation Center.

Rev. Dr. Shawn EE Thomas drowned on March 18, 2022.

“The day was full of love, family, and laughter,” said Michelle Mann, who worked with Thomas in the Mt. Zion Progressive Youth Ministry. “This was an awesome event to remember the light and legacy of what Dr. Thomas contributed to our community. I’m so grateful to be a part of it.”

The celebration marked the birthday of Thomas and his twin, Shawna Crawford. It is how he would want to celebrate his legacy with his family coming together. He often stated that he believed in hearing God and helping God’s people.

“Our vision (the family) is to have a non-profit organization in his name for people to come together on this special day to celebrate the work that he has done,” said Crawford. “His dream was to take this togetherness attitude nationwide. He left his mark.

The late Rev. Dr. Shawn Thomas’s daughters Jayla and Chosen Thomas

At the time of his departure, Rev. Dr. Thomas was the newly-elected pastor of Galilee Missionary Baptist Church. Before that, he was the director of Ministry at Mt. Zion Progressive Church and served seven years as youth pastor. He was an adjunct professor of World Religion at St. Petersburg College and served the State of Florida as a house speaker appointee on the Council for the Social Status of Black Men and Boys.

Michelle Mann worked with Rev. Shawn Thomas in the Mt. Zion Progressive Youth Ministry.

“Planning the event was extremely therapeutic,” said close family friend Jocelyn Williams. “This past year has been difficult, missing someone who was an intricate part of our life. I believe Shawn would have been pleased to see his family, friends and community come together to enjoy each other on a positive note.” 

Jimya Holmes is one of the youths impacted by Rev. Thomas. She shared memories of years being influenced by his light and gave testimony of her experiences and growing pains. Moved by her emotions, she began to sing as the community day celebration evolved into a Sunday morning praise and worship session.

“Pastor Shawn was my youth pastor. He and Ms. Bonnie [Williams] helped me through many personal hardships in more ways than was even known,” mourned Holmes. “Going to church every Sunday to hear the Word helped me stay on the right track to graduate.”

“It is good to remember those who have graduated to the heavens beyond,” said Rev. Louis Murphy, Sr., senior pastor of Mt. Zion Progressive Missionary Baptist Church. “Many people are trying to process the loss of someone who meant so much in the community and the church. This event is a way to help build and dream to where we see death as part of life. It helps us to live our best life.”

The community day was about honoring the memory of a torchbearer who continues to inspire a world of hopeful young generations to love and show love.

One Reply to “The World’s Hopeful Young Generation event”

  1. Dee says:

    I Love this , and missing him so much ❤️

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