Pensacola, Florida
Tuesday March 19th 2019


Outtakes— Improving My Craft

At the age of 57, I still have so much to learn. The past year I worked hard to perfect my writing.

Though I will always be plagued with typos, I did a better job of developing my craft. My hatred of injustice and my intolerance of bullies will always push me to the edge, but I did a better job of keeping my passions in check and letting some events unfold as they should.

The April 30 jail explosion showed a county government completely overwhelmed by the magnitude of the event. We were repeatedly given conflicting information about the causes of the blast and the medical care of the victims. Those caught in the blast and their families deserved better treatment than they received. We fought hard to publish their stories.

Don’t say you haven’t been warned.

For decades, the residents in the Wedgewood neighborhood complained about the odors coming from the pits that surround their homes. When a permit came up for renewal, they tried one more time to be heard.

The sight of elderly African-American veterans struggling to walk to the podium at the commission meeting broke my heart. The following weekend, I visited the neighborhood and saw the huge mound of debris that towered over the homes, and I choked on the foul odors coming from that dump. We made sure that this time the people of Wedgewood were not ignored.

I watched Councilwoman Sherri Myers, a longtime civil rights activist, bullied in Pensacola City Council meetings. The mayor’s supporters wrote checks to her opponent. Clearly she was being targeted for removal.

Sherri did the only thing she knew how to do—knock on as many doors in her district as she could and tell her story. Watching the power brokers of Pensacola defame and discredit a senior citizen who had dedicated her life to domestic violence victims, the disabled and homeless sickened me. We had to endorse her. Otherwise, no one would ever have the courage to challenge the status quo.

My mother died a week before Thanksgiving Day after a long battle against respiratory illness. I spent every day of the past year making breakfast for her and learned how one dies with dignity. A widow, my mom raised six kids and died peacefully without pain and with those who loved her.

Her death has impacted me more than I realized it would. It has pushed me to continue to improve my craft, speak out for the “little guy” and fight for a quality life of all living in our community, not just for a select few.

Don’t say you haven’t been warned.