Our families, community, nation and world continue to go through tragic times, yet it was inspiring for HOPE leaders to gather for a deeply meaningful virtual Justice Ministry Celebration! The testimonies from our own members, as well as Florida State Representative Dianne Hart, Mr. Elliott Steele – the founder of Vincent House, and Mr. Steve Raney – the CEO of Raymond James Bank, on the importance of our work and how it personally impacts them were unbelievably powerful. We also welcomed Palma Ceia Presbyterian Church into HOPE membership! Thank you to everyone who shared and joined (as well as those who tried to join) our first virtual Justice Ministry Celebration.
We apologize to everyone who could not get into the Celebration. Although we upgraded Zoom so 500 people could join, we were limited to 100 people. We know this was incredibly disappointing for everyone. As people kept knocking at the door, we just couldn’t figure out how to let them in. We are constantly having to learn new things about Zoom so we can continue meeting together; unfortunately what we learned last night was too late for our Celebration. We ask for your patience.
We did record the Celebration, so you can access it at this link to the right. Please share it with your congregation’s Justice Ministry, especially those who couldn’t get in on Monday night. And, please give them our apologies.
This year has been different for HOPE and our work of justice. COVID-19 and the most recent string of cold blooded killings of unarmed African-Americans continues to show the gaping holes and evil racism in our systems. Amid this difficult time of heartbreak, deep pain, anger and fatigue, it is inspiring and encouraging to see many people of diverse backgrounds unite together, even if virtually. It was great to celebrate the community we are building and our systemic-change victories, as well as commit to keep building our capacity to continue achieving needed systemic changes in Hillsborough County.
Let’s stay united, listening and bringing healing to each other’s pain, encouraging and learning from each other, as we continue building true community. We celebrate the justice we have achieved, and now we must continue to build our power to achieve even more justice, so all people can live with dignity, safety, wholeness and respect.