Monday, August 4, 2008

The Promise of Our Youth

Early in the week, I had a conversation with a voter. He asked a common question, “Why would you want to be Public Defender.” One of his points was that the youth of today are disrespectful, if not dangerous, and probably made up a great deal of our clients. He assumed that the work must be frustrating and perhaps counter-productive to our shared goal of creating a safe society.

On the other side of the ledger, I was privileged to experience portions of the “Greatness Beyond Measure” teen summit held in Sarasota this weekend. On Saturday night, I was a judge at a debate contest as ten teenagers addressed racial, gender and age stereotypes head-on. A crowd of over 100 mostly young people sat in the audience, fully engaged in the exchange of ideas on stage. The next day an even larger crowd gathered at Martin Luther King, Jr. Park for Gospel music, performances, and hot dogs. Spending time with these fine young men and women, primarily African-Americans, was just the antidote I needed to combat cynicism.

The rest of the week was inspiring as well. The Sun-House Restaurant on Bradenton Beach hosted a very enjoyable fundraiser to benefit the Manatee Red Cross. I won Chef Darryl’s cooking jacket in the silent auction. Also fun was the Selby Library’s 10th birthday bash on Saturday afternoon. In attendance were numerous families, Mote Marine, the Humane Society, and Marie Selby as portrayed by a wonderful actress. And I even took a day off to go fishing with my stepdaughter and her boyfriend. We hit a small school of jacks and of course had to have a photo memorializing out catch.

As busy as it has been, the next few weeks will be even crazier. You can come out and meet me between August 5-9 at any of the following. On Tuesday, August 5, I will attend the North Port Chamber of Commerce candidate mixer at the Olde World Restaurant, then head over to North Port High School for "National Night Out." On Wednesday, August 6, I will debate the other candidates in my race at the Manatee County Commission chambers at 6:30 p.m. Watch for later broadcasts on Manatee Educational Television. Thursday, August 7, I will attend the League of Women Voter's candidate fair at the Gulf Gate Library in Sarasota from 6-9 pm. Friday, August 8 I'll see you at the Sarasota Slam street party on Lemon Avenue in the evening. And finally, on Saturday, August 9, there will be a rally for all Democratic candidates at the DeSoto County fairgrounds, beginning at 10 a.m.

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