Black and Empowered: ‘Rethinking Racism’ 

Saturday, February 29, Metro Inclusive Health hosted the Black and Empowered Brunch and conversation panel. Panelist, from left, Mt. Zion Primitive Baptist Pastor G. Gregg Murray, stylist Consuelo Mackey-Perry, artist and teacher Ya La’ford, St. Petersburg Councilmember Lisa Wheeler-Bowman, were moderated by Hot 101.5 radio host Miguel Fuller. “We believe the biggest gains are to be made by assisting the majority who want to disrupt racism to overcome the hurdles to achievement,” said Fuller during opening remarks. “We do this not by singling folks out for their explicit racism but, as a country, by rethinking our understanding of racism and the way it works. We do this by brave talks that help us to recognize and confront our biases. We also do it by looking for change and improvement both in ourselves and our society.”

February is Black History Month and serves as an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of Black and African Americans. Saturday, February 29, Metro Inclusive Health hosted the Black and Empowered Brunch and conversation panel. 

The panel was simultaneously held in both the St. Petersburg (3251 3rd Ave. N.) and Tampa (1315 E 7th Ave.) Metro Inclusive Health locations. 

In St. Pete, the panel was moderated by Hot 101.5 radio host Miguel Fuller. St. Petersburg Councilmember Lisa Wheeler-Bowman, artist and teacher Ya La’ford, stylist Consuelo Mackey-Perry and Mt. Zion Primitive Baptist Pastor G. Gregg Murray were the panelists. 

The conversation invoked a wide range of emotions from both the audience and speakers on a number of weighty topics. 

“Pretending we don’t see race and that racism doesn’t exist is not only socially immature, it is also irresponsible and dangerous,” said Fuller during opening remarks. “It ends up placing blame for social disparities on those being marginalized rather than tracing those disparities back to a long history of oppression based on color.”

The conversation addressed issues that affect the black community, such as the power of microaggressions, the stigmatization of mental and sexual health and how they care and show love for the black community as a whole. 

“When you get offended, you get oppressed,” said Mackey-Perry, when she spoke about how microaggression affects people of color. “I simply see that I have a challenge to change their mind.” 

After the discussion concluded, La’ford invited attendees to lend a hand in completing her collaborative mural painting on the south end of the building. 

“The handprints bring the community together,” said La’ford, who combined her artistic ability and her passion for the community to create a piece of interconnectivity.

After Metro Inclusive Health’s Black and Empowered Brunch and conversation panel concluded, Liberty Nickel showed off her red-handed contribution to artist Ya La’ford’s collaborative mural painting on the south end of the building. La’ford can be seen in the background, helping St. Petersburg Councilmember Lisa Wheeler-Bowman leave her mark on the community. 

Saturday, February 29, Metro Inclusive Health hosted the Black and Empowered Brunch and conversation panel, including, from left, St. Petersburg Councilmember Lisa Wheeler-Bowman, stylist Consuelo Mackey-Perry, and artist and teacher Ya La’ford. “When you get offended, you get oppressed,” said Mackey-Perry, when she spoke about how microaggression affects people of color. “I simply see that I have a challenge to change their mind.” During the panel, all three female panelists shared very personal stories about how the hurdles they had to overcome to be the successful and influential women they are today. 

 

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