March 5 - March 11, 2015
Rev. Al Sharpton and Don King headline Howard Club Southwest Florida’s Scholarship luncheon
Civil rights leader Rev. Al Sharpton, Jr., and boxing promoter Don King will be the keynote speaker, and special award recipient, respectively, at the Howard (University) Club of Southwest Florida’s 10th Annual Scholarship luncheon, Saturday, March 28, 2015. The program starts promptly at 11 a.m. The event will be held at the Hyatt Regency Sarasota, 1000 Blvd. of the Arts. Tickets are $100. For ticket information please call (941) 756-8786.
Rev. Al Sharpton, Jr. is one of the nation’s preeminent civil rights activist, a media personality, and author. He is the President of the National Action Network; host of MSNBC’s Politics Nation; and the Keeping It Real radio show. He is also the author of The Rejected Stone: Al Sharpton and the Path to American Leadership.
Boxing promoter Don King is the embodiment of the notion that with hard work and perseverance, even in the midst of adversity, one can pull himself up by his bootstraps. He was the only boxing promoter included in Sports Illustrated’s list of the “40 Most Influential Sports Figures of the past 40 years,” and was also named one of the 100 African Americans who helped shape America’s history over the past century by the New York Times. The Cleveland, Ohio native, and founder and CEO of Don King Productions was inducted into the Boxing Hall of Fame in 1997.
The Howard Club of Southwest Florida, Inc. is dedicated to spreading “Rays of Light” for the benefit of maintaining, uplifting, and expanding the sacred and honored traditions of Howard University. Through its annual scholarship luncheon and other efforts, members of the alumni organization endow young people from throughout our community with the resources and inspiration to achieve their educational and professional goals. Founded in March 2005 by Rosalind Ellerbee, HU BA ’57, and Constance Peak Covington, HU BA ’58, the organization’s efforts help ensure the enduring legacy of Howard University.
Howard University is a federally chartered, private, doctoral research intensive university with undergraduate, graduate, professional and joint degree programs spanning more than 120 areas of study within 13 schools and colleges.
Sarasota Ford A breed Apart Dealership Celebrates 20th Anniversary
BY MWEZI DAKE...Sarasota is home to many businesses and within the last 20 years Sarasota Ford has become an anchor business and friend to Sarasota and Manatee communities.
In 1995 Vern Buchanan purchased Sarasota Ford and with the first meeting between TEMPO Publisher and Owner, Johnny Hunter Sr. and Vern Buchanan, Johnny Hunter Sr. said, “I felt the sincere concern and care to diversify Vern had for Sarasota and Manatee County.” And twenty years later Johnny Hunter Sr. is just as sure that initial feeling has proven true.
Vern Buchanan was true to his word to diversify Sarasota Ford and twenty years ago began to hire African-American men to become sales person. The traditional jobs offered to men of color had previously been only “lot men” or clean-up crew and not allowed to deal or sell to customers. In 1960’s, the late Tommy Battie who worked at the now defunct Altman’s Chevrolet Dealership and the late Earl Watts a school teacher who also worked part time at the now defunct Darby Buick were two African-American men working in sales but it was not until 1995 when Vern Buchanan purchased the then Pelican Ford and changed its name to Sarasota Ford did the field of car salesmen open to people of color in Sarasota. Vern Buchanan wanted Sarasota Ford to dominate the market and wanted the best sales and service people which didn’t include limiting hiring because of a person’s skin color. Sarasota Ford brought on board to the sales department, Jimmy Robinson and Mark Griffin who was known as, “The Make –It Happen Man,” both African-American men and was tops in their ability and knowledge of selling cars.
Johnny Hunter Sr. said the hiring of African-American men and minorities by Vern Buchanan beginning in 1995 opened up opportunity and set a new standard for hiring in the auto dealerships and other businesses. Sarasota Ford and TEMPO News began a solid friendship and team work from the beginning in 1995 and that “Team Work” began when Sarasota Ford wanted to expand and acquire adjoining property. Hunter worked with Buchanan and the acquisition of the adjoining property was completed. In Hunter’s opinion, “In the past 20 years Sarasota Ford has reached back into community, and to its citizens and helped so many schools, organizations and Not-for Profits. Giving back to community and to be a partner began 20years ago before others reached out to all people and has continued, and is as strong now as it was then, as a matter of fact it won the NAACP Business Industrial Award” said Hunter.
Sarasota Ford began a business relationship with Tempo News in 1995 and utilized the weekly circulation of TEMPO News as a major advertising boost for its dealership. Hunter states that he had reached out many times to Gettel Automotive Group, Firkins, and Sunset Chevrolet/Cox Chevrolet since 1986 but none of those dealerships were interested in advertising to the African-American communities on a consistence basis. As Hunter stated, “Gettel Automotive Group, Firkins, Sunset Chevrolet (formerly Altman Chevrolet) all of these dealership seemed to marginalize, under appreciate and under estimate the customers in the African-American community and didn’t care about reaching out to get the business of the (African-American) customers.” Hunter went on to say, “Vern is rock solid in his commitment to our (African-American and minority) community. Sarasota Ford is a driving force in both communities of Sarasota and Manatee County now in all areas of selling vehicles to service down to oil changes. Vern’s positive imprint in the community can be seen in both counties. Vern’s a household name not a distant person sitting in an Ivory Tower dictating to others. He (Vern) is out in the community and in the trenches because he cares about what is happening in our community. People speak very highly of Vern because Vern is a good corporate citizen and community partner. “
Sarasota Ford has given to the community over the past twenty years not only in the money it gives but in its commitment to treating all people fairly which includes it employees, customers and community members. Sarasota ford recently celebrated a huge renovations and grand Re-opening with more the hopes of providing better customer satisfaction and service.
As the interview with Johnny Hunter Sr. wrapped up on the subject of Sarasota Ford on a business and personal relationship, Hunter concluded with this thought, “Vern has been a good friend not only to me but to all of us, (Sarasota and Manatee Counites). When Vern gives his word, Vern delivers ten out of ten times, Vern is most definitely a man of his word.”
The positive sentiment about Vern Buchanan seems to be present in many. Carolyn J. Mason, Sarasota County Commissioner had this to say about Vern Buchanan, “I met Vern Buchanan while campaigning for the City Commission in 1999. At that time he (Buchanan) shared with me his growing up in Detroit and going to high school where he was in the minority population. He (Buchanan) made great friends there. Among the things Buchanan shared with me at that time was his desire to help African-American males who had run-ins with the law as well as those who had not, to become car salesmen and mechanics where they would be able to earn a better than average living for themselves and their families. Since that time Vern has done that. He said what he meant and meant what he said. Vern Buchanan, in my eyes is a man of his word. Now that he is Congressman Buchanan, that trait in him has not changes and I appreciate and value his commitment to the entire community and the nation.”