The MultiCultural Health Institute and the Friends of the North Sarasota Library presented a health rights and culture event that tied the 50th Anniversary of the 1964 Civil Rights Act with today’s current issue of the Affordable Care Act.
Students and adults were treated to a presentation by Dr. Lisa Merritt, Director of the MHI who spoke of the importance of the Health Care Act and the opportunity it presents for equity in the delivery of healthcare in the United States. Manatee County Rural Health Services was on hand to guide the audience on how to sign up for healthcare and navigate the Health.gov website. Cast members from Florida Studio Theatre’s Thurgood stage production based on the life of Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall and his influence on the Civil Rights Act presented an excerpt from the play. Genesis Health Services offered free health screenings.
Members of the Newtown Centennial Committee were in attendance including Euline Myrick, who is also the President of the North County Community Organization. He spoke of how the tragic death of a child at play, turned young and old in his neighborhood into advocates. Through action and collaboration Lime Lake Park was built, providing young people with a safe place to play and the entire neighborhood with a beautiful fresh air space for exercise and social gatherings; basic health rights that we should all have access to.
Che Barnett, Chair of the Newtown Centennial Committee, commented “ Mr. Myrick’s presentation was a great message for the younger members in today’s audience, helping them understand that public service and advocacy is not just the work of our elected officials; they too can initiate and successfully achieve positive change in their communities. It’s a story that resounds throughout Newtown’s 100 year legacy; people achieving against the odds. And, it mirrors the revolutionary spirit championed by Thurgood Marshall.
The event concluded with comments from Lovette Harper from Friends of the North Sarasota Library, citing the importance of both pieces of legislation. Mrs. Harper and Dr. Cheryl Smith then lead the group through a tour of the new Cultural Resource Center housed at the library pointing out many items related to the Civil Rights era as well as Newtown’s history and the Centennial observance.
Much appreciation to Dr. Lisa Merritt and the MultiCultural Health Institute for organizing a great Black History Month event and for inviting the Newtown Centennial to participate.