Black History Month: A Time to Remember, Give Thanks and Grow

As we immerse ourselves in the vibrant tapestry of February, we embark on a journey of celebration and reflection during Black History Month. This is a time to honor the indomitable spirit, resilience, and outstanding achievements of the Afro-descendant community. In the pursuit of justice, equality, and societal enrichment, let’s delve into the inspiring stories of those who have left an indelible mark on our shared history.

This year, we honor the legacy and the struggle, from civil rights activism to innovations in the arts and sciences.

We celebrate the legacy and triumph of our members.

Dr. Ruth Edwards: The Director of Education at Winter Park Library served on the Hope Community Center Board of Directors. Dr. Edwards is an educator, social justice advocate, and change-maker. She has focused on creating resources and ensuring knowledge is accessible to all as she works to take the Library to new heights. She holds a Ph.D. in Human Development and an M.S. in Organizational Systems from Fielding Graduate University in Santa Barbara, California. In addition, Dr. Ruth Edwards is part of our community and was honored with the “Sister Cathy” Award for Excellence in Education at our 50 Years And More! Awards Celebration in 2022. 

Reverend Rhonda Michelle Walker Thomas: She was honored with the Sister Gail Award for Excellence in Advocacy at our 2023 Y Mucho Más Fiesta. Rev. Thomas is the Executive Director of Faith Florida and the first African American woman to hold that position. She began her career as a Fellow in 2012. Since then, she has risen in several areas: Organizer of LiveFree – Reducing Gun Violence for Miami Dade County, Director of the Statewide Campaign – Let My People Vote Campaign. Thomas’s work is extraordinary, and her dedication sets the stage to help create a community with a sense of belonging.

Anne Pervil: She serves as a Board Member for Hope Community Center and is a Haitian-American attorney whose work with Equal Justice Works provided legal services to Haitian farmworkers and the Haitian community in Central Florida. Her work as an attorney focuses on helping immigrant families, and her bachelor’s degree in social work has been integral to her growth and training in helping vulnerable communities. Let’s celebrate her commitment to making a difference in the lives of immigrant families.

Chevalier Lovett: He serves on the Board of Directors of Hope Community Center and is the Chief Operating Officer of Florida Rising. Chevalier has a long history of leadership in the nonprofit world, holding positions with organizations such as the YMCA, City Year, and Legacy Organize Florida. As a result of his active involvement in the community, he has served on boards and committees at the local, state, and national levels, including the following: Hope CommUnity Center, Contigo Fund, the National Committee of Racial Justice, the National Trustees Committee of Poverty Solutions and others. His fight for the freedom and rights of marginalized communities is part of his efforts and service to support those who need it most. 

Tessa Pettit: Tessa is the Executive Director of the Florida Immigrant Coalition (FLIC) and a member of the HCC Board. Tessa was born and raised in Haiti. Her commitment to helping others led her to work in social services with the Haitian community and underprivileged families. In 2016, she joined FLIC to bring her passion for social justice to help expand services and promote capacity building and awareness. Pettit holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Organizational Leadership from Barry University. 

Terrance Hunter: As CEO of Central Florida Community Arts, he brings over 15 years of experience in the nonprofit sector. He began his career as an Orange County Regional History Center educator. Before becoming CEO of Central Florida Community Arts, he served as Senior Director of Programs and Vice President of Operations and Education. His focus on building impactful relationships for visible change showcases the transformative power of community involvement.

Dr. Bahiyyah Maroon: She is the CEO of the Polis Institute, the recipient of the U.S. President’s Volunteer Service Award, and a former member of the National Science Foundation. She has provided research and strategy expertise to organizations such as Intel Corporation, the U.S. Department of Justice, and Harvard University. Her research and strategy expertise have contributed to social solutions on a global scale.

From the heart of Hope CommUnity Center, we celebrate the achievements and the commitment to growth and empowerment for minorities. Together, we raise our voices against systems of oppression, asserting our rights with strength, unity, and unwavering determination.

Raise Your Voice and Fight for Freedom!