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CW44 News - 6.4.2020 - AlvarezPINELLAS COUNTY (CW44 News at 10) - People continue to march throughout Tampa Bay in peaceful protest against police brutality, systemic racism and in George Floyd's memory. CW44's Andrea Alvarez spoke with Lorielle Hollaway, the owner of Cultured Books in St. Petersburg, who says she's looking to help change the narrative in her community. Tucked in the Southwest corner of St. Petersburg, you'll find towering walls bursting with black history and proud black business owners fighting to change the dynamic of their city. Among this backdrop stands, Cultured Books, colloquially known as 'The Deuces', which specializes in presenting multicultural books that share positive stories about people of color, black in particular. "We see you, we're not backing down. We're not letting you continue to have systemic racism in place - affecting our communities. We can only tell you what's happening, but we need the people in the government to act on it, to do something about it. We started the bookstore around 2017, I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do as far as being in college and essentially the bookstore came about. It is my way of activism, making sure that the narrative that black and brown children are inferior or less than, that it's not pushed to them." For this mother of three, her focus is the future. Not just for her, but for her girls. "In perfect world, my daughters wouldn't have to deal with racism. They are eight years old. 10 years old and 18 months. Black children, they have to live with [racism]." Ms. Hollaway remarked, visibly moved by emotion. Like so many other protesters taking to the streets, she is looking to change the narrative of this story. In regards to the violent element of the protests, Hollaway said, "Don't take it into your hands to be destructive because that isn't helping us. When the looting and the rioting and the [inaudible] calling, that's just another dog-whistle term that is not directed to you. It's directed to black people. Racism isn't just calling someone a derogatory term, it can be the way that our communities are run, the way that our schools are underfunded. The food deserts. The book deserts." Her vision for the future includes more than just those marching. "...there is privilege in being white. Use [that] privilege to benefit and to uplift friends who are black. Family members who are black. Communities who have black people in it. That's my hope."
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CW44 News - 6.3.2020 - AlvarezST. PETERSBURG (CW44 News at 10) - City of St. Petersburg officials stood among protesters at the steps of City Hall Wednesday morning to deliver a message addressing recent protests on police brutality in America. Protesters and bystanders listened as Mayor Rick Kriseman, local pastors and other officials spoke. “We are proud that we are on the cusp of a new most welcoming world that works for all of us. But we know there is much work, still, to be done,” said Dr. Kanika Tomalin, Deputy Mayor and City Administrator of St. Petersburg. “We have some healing to do. We have some work to do. To all the genuine people that are out there doing the work, I salute you, I love you. Thank you,” said one of the local pastors. Just hours before, peaceful protesters took to the streets of St. Pete once again. “I have to say its super super nice to see all the young people out here today. They’re the future and having them here supporting this is really awesome,” said Trina Fard, a Protester in the video.“My feet are killing me, but I have to say it’s a reminder of the pain, which is miniscule to what these young men, young black men who were murdered in cold blood felt in their last moments. So, we do it because it’s important and their voice has been silenced forever and now we have to be their voice.” But city leaders say, as nighttime fell, so did the message for some. “For most of that last four days and nights, we’ve also had some of the very best protesters in the country. But we’ve also had those who have failed to convey a clear message; who have chosen not to lift their voices, but lift bottles, rocks and fireworks,” said Mayor Kriseman. According to the St. Pete Police Department, just before midnight, protesters returned to police headquarters and officers announced it was an unlawful assembly, prompting protesters to head out. Minutes later, police say they launched smoke bombs and protesters began throwing fireworks back. Twenty three people were arrested after refusing to leave and a bag with fireworks was confiscated. “Our people have been speaking up and we have been listening, but the key thing is, I don’t think we’ve been hearing them. We’re going to start hearing some people,” said St. Pete Police Chief Anthony Holloway. Still, peaceful protesters are keeping a tunnel vision focus as they march on. “Find a place. Join a protest. Make your voice heard. Support black lives, they need it… especially now,” said Fard. President and CEO of the Pinellas County Urban League, Watson Haynes II presented a ten point plan which is being reviewed and potentially instilled into legislation which could make a national impact. Stick with cw44 news for this developing story.
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CW44 News - 6.1.2020 - McKeonTampa Officials Press Conference Regarding Protests
CW44 News - 6.1.2020 - AlvarezTAMPA (CW44 News at 10) June 1, 2020 - As large protests in response to police brutality and the death of George Floyd wrapped up in Tampa Sunday, many business owners are left picking up the pieces after one of those protests lead to looting and large fire. Champs on Fowler Avenue in Tampa was set to flames Sunday night. The next morning, the only sounds left were drips falling from the ceiling and shards of glass falling to the ground. “I know that for the most part Saturday morning started very peacefully and as the night fell, that’s when everything kind of went sideways. In response to that we saw the mayor enact the curfew. Second day of protests, again they started peacefully, as the night falls, it kind of takes a different turn,” said Roberto Torres, President of Blind Tiger Café. Dozens of people were arrested and several businesses were damaged.  Now, others are taking steps to prevent it from happening to them. Owner of Blind Tiger Café in Tampa, Roberto Torres, says he absolutely stands with those protesting for change but doesn’t want his businesses to be targeted. Torres owns nine businesses across Tampa Bay, and he says he stands with those peacefully protesting. “For a community that has been oppressed for so long, I sympathize, personally with that,” said Torres. He says he was monitoring protests in proximity to his business. One of those protests happened about two blocks from one of his café’s on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr Blvd. “Definitely torn because I know that, for the last hundred years, we have not only witnessed police brutality, but an unfair criminal justice system that punishes people of color and minorities,” said Torres. But he doesn’t want to see businesses taking the brunt of it. “It’s just glass and equipment. We can replace that all day. Obviously nobody wants to be a hit or a target. I guess, looking at it from both lenses, it’s different because, I personally would not like any sort of destruction of property but I do understand when it goes to that point, how selfless or hopeless somebody need sot feel in order to get to that state,” said Torres. Although he looks to protect his business, he says he stands with his community through and through. “If there’s anything that I can do, I mean we had employees of our own actually attend the march and I told them, listen, be smart, be safe. It would be ridiculous for us to turn a blind eye. This affects everybody. I can be me, it can be my children.”
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