Opening Reception for the 25th ANYTOWN Anniversary Banner Exhibition
Showing the history, growth and transformative impact of the ANYTOWN anti-discrimination program through one-of-a-kind banners created to commemorate ANYTOWN sessions since 1991. Stories of program graduates also featured. Commemorative merchandise available.
December 4, 2015
6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
620 1st Avenue S., St. Petersburg, FL 33701
The Opening Reception is free and open to the public.
Guests will have the opportunity to meet ANYTOWN alumni, including program graduates and volunteers.
Program graduates include St. Petersburg Deputy Mayor Dr. Kanika Jelks-Tomalin and St. Petersburg Director of Urban Affairs Nikki Gaskin-Capehart.
Racism is on the rise: leading polls show that racism is regarded as a “big problem” and that a majority of white Americans express prejudice toward blacks, whether they recognize it or not. But we don’t need polls to tell us that. We need only to watch a newscast or scroll through a social media feed to find that evidence. Along with anti-black racism, Islamophobia is at an all-time high, even though far-right extremists are responsible for more terror-related deaths in the U.S. since 9/11 than Muslims. And while the past few years have seen some increase in rights for our LGBT friends and colleagues, equality is far from a reality. You can still be legally fired and evicted in the state of Florida for being gay, lesbian or transgender.
Our communities are more diverse than ever, and with growing advances in technology, we are as accessible to one another as we’ve ever been. Yet, we are more prejudiced than we were in 1995.
If only there were a program that reduced prejudice and gave people tangible solutions for impacting discrimination in their schools and communities.
In Tampa Bay, there is.
Community Tampa Bay’s ANYTOWN program is a 5-day, 4-night conference for diverse teens ages 14 to 18 from Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties that gives students a framework for having hard conversations with people who don’t look like them and an understanding of why that’s important. These tactics are called “dialogue” and “cross-cultural interactions,” both of which are proven techniques for prejudice reduction. Throughout the ANYTOWN week, students experience interactive workshops, dialogue with diverse peers and other experiential activities that build empathy and foster meaningful connections.
ANYTOWN transforms individual lives, as well as communities, by creating and modeling a community free from all forms of discrimination and giving students the chance to experience what that feels like. As one ANYTOWN graduate shared: “ANYTOWN was a turning point in my life, more prominent than any other. I’ve learned so much about respecting my peers and people who might be different from myself. I’ve learned so much about myself. Let’s end discrimination together.”
Since 1991, more than 5,500 youth have graduated from the ANYTOWN program. That’s 5,500 youth and young adults in their communities right now, working to end prejudice. They can’t do it alone.
The 25th ANYTOWN Anniversary event gives the public an opportunity to celebrate and support Tampa Bay’s only program dedicated to empowering youth to end all forms of discrimination.