Friday, May 16, 2014

Preparing the Way for the Visit of Pope Francis to St. Augustine in 2015

Next week, on May 22nd, the Visitor and Convention Bureau will hold its annual Tourism public meeting at World Golf Village, 8-11 am, at our County government's $16.9 million Convention Center.
Open to the public.
No charge.
This year, let's approach it differently.
Rather than a focus on attracting the one percent to benefit money-grubbing business owners, let's focus on equality and justice.
Fair wages for tourism employees.
Let's focus on our values.
Let's focus on what St. Augustine has to offer the world during our 450th anniversary commemoration next year.
Pope Francis has been invited, and he will help to celebrate our cultural diversity -- America began here (not Jamestown or Plymouth):
The first Europeans.
The first Christians.
The first Roman Catholics.
First Hispanics.
First Jews.
First Africans -- both free and slave.
First encounters with Native American indigenous Indian tribes.
First families.
First town plan.
First multi-cultural city.
St. Augustine is the first "Compassionate City" in Florida and twentieth in the world.
We've had 31 progressive victories here since April 11, 2005, when our former City Manager told me he could have me "arrested for disorderly conduct" for speaking out on the civil rights of West Augustine residents under the Fifteenth Amendment.
See below.
We reject government based on fear or ignorance (or fear of ignorance).
The Ku Klux Klan, which once ran Our Town, no longer has a vote on our City Commission.
One day that will be true of our County Commission and other county-wide elected offices.
As JFK said, "Here on Earth, God's work must truly be our own."
Let us dedicate ourselves to that, and sharing our values with the world.

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