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St. Pete Wants to Hear Your Stories

By JON WILSON, Consulting Editor, TB Reporter

“This Is My City” program coming to J.W. Cate Community Center on Tuesday.

ST. PETERSBURG — Mayor Rick Kriseman and the City of St. Petersburg invite the public to bring their stories to “This Is My City: St. Pete Stories” Tuesday (July 21), 6 p.m. to 8 the J.W. Cate Recreation Center, 5801 22nd Ave. N.

This is the second in a series of community conversations that welcomes your personal stories to help describe and connect all of St. Petersburg. People who attended the first event in June saw professional actors present the stories of local residents, including the stories of Kriseman and Deputy Mayor Kanika Tomalin, who both grew up on the city’s west side. Bishop Preston Leonard, senior pastor at Christ Gospel Church, shared his experience of segregated St. Pete and the long-term cost of discrimination. And newlyweds Candi and Delores Purdue’s story resonated with others who experience limitations of freedom due to gender, race or sexual orientation.

“These kinds of stories help to inspire us and they’re recorded history,” according to one member of the audience. “We are now listening with our hearts. St. Pete is a place that is going to be even more great because of that.”

Tuesday’s program will again feature the stories of various community members across the city and provide time for people to engage in small group discussions. “These community conversations are about diverse segments of our community coming together and sharing our unique stories with one another,” Kriseman said. “We want to have real conversations about inclusiveness, our similarities, as well as our differences — which is what makes our community so remarkable — in a meaningful way.”

“This Is My City: St. Pete Stories” is part of a larger City of St. Petersburg “inclusion and sensitivity” initiative headed by two area diversity consultants: Competency & Performance Solutions, a Tampa firm, and Communication Research Enterprises, based in St. Petersburg. They are partnered with Your Real Stories, a nonprofit expert in the power of narrative in communities, that is producing the events. The City of St Petersburg is the presenting sponsor.

The community conversations are free and open to the public. Following the July meeting, the remaining two are scheduled for Aug. 27 at Lake Vista Recreation Center, 1401 62nd Ave. S; and Oct. 13 at Sunken Gardens, 1825 4th St. N. All venues are wheelchair accessible and programs will be ASL interpreted.

Organizers request that you pre-register online at to reserve a space. There will also be registration at the door.

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