As the nationwide racial justice protests took root locally in St. Petersberg, Florida, editors at The Tampa Bay Times recognized a need to bring under-heard voices into their reporting about race. Editors at The Times were concerned that they didn’t have enough reach in the largely African American community of South St. Petersburg to be credible convenors, but wanted to listen and learn. Recognizing how racial and economic disparity intersect, they approached Local Voices Network to begin strategizing how to reach out, listen, and tell the story of generational wealth in their community.
It’s never a guarantee that an open call for conversations with local media will be well received, so our partnership deployed a timeless community organizer’s tool: finding people who know people. Local community leaders helped gather participants in their 20s to their 90s and worked with Cortico to facilitate meaningful conversations about experiences around generational wealth.
Three powerful conversations lifted up vulnerable personal stories about housing discrimination, living at the poverty line, and lessons about money and race taught by parents or grandparents.
In the first conversation, Wanesha shared about racial inequality in St. Petersburgh, featured in this article, titled “‘We weren’t wealthy. But we were rich.’ Black residents of St. Pete reflect on generational wealth.” In it, residents and participants in the LVN conversations share their experiences with segregation and, redlining while expressing fierce attachment to their communities. Connecting residents across race, age, and class, the conversations served to both build bridges and build greater trust in the Tampa Bay Times.
The beauty is that LVN provides a platform for people to share that is in their own words and in their own voices. It’s not just question and answer. We can use these voices in ways that give our reporting such credibility.
Lou shares a childhood memory of segregation in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Tampa Bay Times Article: Black residents of St. Pete reflect on generational wealth