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An Open Letter & Open Report / The Last Days In Florida, Part 1

From: HK Edgerton [hk.edgerton@gmail.com]
Date: Mon, Feb 5, 2018
Subject: An Open Letter & Open Report / The Last Days In Florida, Part 1
To: siegels1 [siegels1@mindspring.com]

Dear Ms. Lunelle,

On a day that I'm inclined to call the Marathon Day, the Honorable Attorney, David McCallister, would change hats as we exited the Manatee County Commissioners sub-committee meeting and headed for downtown Tampa for the Hillsborough County Advisory Council sub-committee meeting that Mr. McCallister chaired.

Mr. McCallister would explain to me as we made our way that his committee was drafted by the Council with the charge to develop a strategic plan that encompassed the rebranding of the Council in order that it could meet the attended objectives of the County Commissioners. I got the feeling that the previous leaders of the council didn't understand the task, or the scope of the task put before them.

Prior to the start of the meeting, Mr. McCallister would introduce me to some of the committee members and, shortly thereafter, to the council President, the Honorable Virgil Parry, of whom he and I would soon be in active conversation. I would relay to him that as the NAACP President, I had sat on a committee at the pleasure of the Buncombe County Commissioners whose charge was to re-write the Minority Business Plan, and that his committee was similar in nature.

He told me that the Tampa NAACP President had taken a different path. He would discourage his members and their communities from attending the Council's meetings while leveling the charge that the Council was a do nothing organization. He would go on to say that having Mr. McCallister on the Council made it too Confederate as well. Alluding to the fact that somehow Mr. McCallister's membership in the 501c3 Heritage Organization, so recognized by the Internal Revenue Service, should somehow merit him disqualification.

Ironically, I was still don in the uniform of the Southern soldier. Not to make any statement; we just did not have the time for me to change. Nobody seemed to mind, even the two young black men who had entered the room with President Parry, of whom one would exclaim while pointing to me, "Look, there's a Confederate. We are with the US Colored Troops." I would offer my sympathies. They, in turn, would laugh, embrace me and leave.

Mr. Parry went on to say that one of the best, if not the best, things he had going to make his task successful was to have the brilliant mind of Mr. McCallister on board and leading the efforts of the other brilliant minds on this committee.

It would not take long as I sat on the sideline listening to the debate of committee members for me to concur with Mr. Parry; he had the right team for a successful outcome. An integral part of their strategy was to engage the community, and especially their leaders who hear their concerns daily.

I could not help but feel sad that the Tampa NAACP President would take the low road of obstruction to the detriment of his community. My message to him is, "This Council that he has labeled as.... "Do Nothing" is no more!" President Virgil Parry and his posse of brilliant minds will make it so! God bless you!

Your brother

HK

Chairman, Board of Advisors Emeritus
Southern Legal Resource Center