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February marks the annual celebration of Black History Month.

This month is an important reminder of the struggles, accomplishments, and achievements that have been made by African Americans in our society. Black History Month provides a platform to recognize and honor the contributions of African American people throughout our country’s history as well as the impact made by individuals who are a part of our local community today. One way we honor Black History Month in the City of Wilton Manors is by recognizing individuals who have had a meaningful impact on our city. This distinguished set of individuals includes:

  • Terry Dyer: a Black leader in the LGBT community whose impact in his short three years in our community has been history-making.
  • Lorenzo Robertson: created Ujima Men’s Collective for Black same-gender loving men to meet, educate, and build a strong network to address their safety and health concerns in the community. 
  • J.T. Tucker, AKA Blade: the only Black independent owner/operator of a Barber Studio in the heart of Wilton Manors. 

These individuals have had an immeasurable impact on our community. It is a great honor that we will recognize these individuals at “The Cookout,” a Black History Month Celebration organized by Hotspots! Happening Out on Feb. 4 at Michel Park from 1-6 p.m. The event is free to the public, and a proclamation will be read honoring Terry, Lorenzo and Blade. By recognizing the efforts of these accomplished individuals through celebration, we can build unity within our community while continuing to strive towards achieving full equality for all citizens, throughout our nation, regardless of background or beliefs.  

I am grateful that Black History Month provides us with an opportunity to honor those who paved the way for future generations by fighting for civil rights and equality for all citizens. Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, Fannie Lou Hamer, Maya Angelou, Malcolm X, Harriet Tubman — the list goes on — these individuals are just some examples of those who fought tirelessly against racism and oppression throughout their lives so that future generations could benefit from their efforts today. Taking time during this month to honor these leaders, as well as the local leaders we’re recognizing this month here in Wilton Manors, will help us move one step closer to becoming the truly inclusive and welcoming city — and country — we strive daily to be.  

- Chris Caputo, Wilton Manors City Commissioner