The Importance of Encouraging Courage in Women
If we intend to sincerely honor women — during Women’s History Month or any other — that needs to begin with championing them to live authentically and stretch their comfort zones. In failing to do that, we fail everyone – - including future generations. We fail everyone who has a woman for a friend. We fail families. Certainly not least, we fail women. As boys, men generally get the message that they can be anything they want to be. Until the point that we’ve broken their spirit, we encourage strength and tenacity in them. Not so much with women. Forever worrying about their presentation we expend endless energy to keep them pristine, to shield them from strife and hard times. In the process we shield them from their own greatness. We discourage them from developing and shield them from acquiring the grit and vision required of them by life. Almost every woman knows what it’s like to be told they can’t from an early age.  “Girl’s don’t sit like that.” “That’s not ladylike.” We do this and then wonder why women don’t see themselves as capable and deserving: capable of leaving unfulfilling relationships, worthy of the best life has to […]
Why Black History Month Still Matters: #BlackExcellence
In her post about the myth of of a post-racial America, Jenn Russell pointed out that far from solving racism, Obama’s election has instead served to highlight the ongoing pervasiveness of systemic racism and has perhaps even ushered in an era of heightened race-based aggression targeting communities of color. Concrete numbers and police reports exist to back this up. What’s less visible is the ignorance and invisibility that has persisted in part because of the belief in a post-racial America. In response to society collectively ignoring the black experience and its contributions to culture, #BlackExcellence has picked up steam in the last few years to highlight them. The hashtag exists because noticing black contributions and achievements isn’t the norm. It’s an exception. The fact that this hashtag exists is yet another reason why we’re not past needing Black History Month. Below are three more reasons informing #BlackExcellence’s existence as to why this is so: 1. Because contributions by blacks are celebrated only one month of the year, and what black contributions are routinely lauded have been attributed to Europeans. This is easy when the libraries that originally housed this information have been destroyed. Whether through omission or intentional misinformation, you can make your […]
Why Black History Month Still Matters: The Myth of Post-Racial America
*At Community Tampa Bay, we find ourselves frequently having to field questions about why diversity and inclusion still matters, when we’ve “come so far”, when our society is “past racism”. This is why. It’s not a new notion: the myth of a post-racial America has been examined, refuted and re-examined over these seven years since the election of our nation’s first black President. The most optimistic among us (and arguably, those of us among the least marginalized) have been eager to tout that the US could officially close the book on racism now that our top leader is a man of color.  People of color know differently. In her essay in the February 2015 edition of Essence magazine, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Isabel Wilkerson parallels the experience of black Americans today to that of the post-Reconstruction era. During Reconstruction, in the decade or so after slavery was abolished, blacks made significant gains in all areas of public life, establishing successful businesses and schools, creating vibrant and thriving communities and successfully establishing political toe-holds in black communities and beyond. This progression did not sit well with many of their white neighbors and many of those in established positions of power. Fearing the […]
A Matter of Life & Death
Community Tampa Bay recently held district wide one-day youth leadership conferences for middle and high school students attending Pinellas County Schools. The theme of the conferences was: “What’s Your Story?”   This question lies at the heart of Community Tampa Bay’s work with both youth and adults, as we strive to create a community free from all forms of discrimination. Everyone has a story, and our personal narratives – those we are born with, those we tell ourselves and those other decide for us – shape our lives.   Sharing our stories with others and having others listen to those stories, whether they are of triumph, struggle or everything in between, creates the opportunity for genuine relationships. And relationships are the foundation from which we can end discrimination.   When we have the opportunity to build genuine relationships with people who don’t look like us or who come from different backgrounds, we not only learn about them, we learn about ourselves. Through these relationships, we have the opportunity to question our assumptions and biases and to expand our hearts and minds. Through these relationships, we can engage in transformative dialogue – those discussions that are sometimes hard to have but […]
CTB on Leading Edge of D&I Strategy
Last Thursday, Community Tampa Bay (CTB) hosted Evident Impact, a panel discussion featuring Pinellas County leaders sharing their perspectives on the importance of diversity and inclusion in the workforce.   For more than two decades, Community Tampa Bay’s leadership and diversity education programs (which are based on our trademarked ANYTOWN curriculum and adapted to be age- and setting-appropriate) have emphasized three primary ways to foster inclusion effectively: dialogue, relationships and modeling diversity at all levels of an organization.   Throughout the discussion at Evident Impact, each panelist in their own words validated these proven approaches by sharing how dialogue, genuine relationships and intentionally building a diverse pipeline of leaders and employees have influenced their organizations’ success.   President & CEO of the Greater St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce, Chris Steinocher, mentioned the Chamber’s approach to gaining comfort in having the sometimes uncomfortable conversations about bias that pave the way for genuine dialogue.   The importance of relationships was emphasized by Joe Conrod, Director of Diversity & Employee Relations for All Children’s Hospital Johns Hopkins Medicine, who shared his own story of the various cross-cultural relationships that have influenced his life and personal success: “We need to learn how to be friends with […]
Jun 02
“ANYTOWN changed my life.”
“ANYTOWN changed my life.”  I’ve heard this statement more than any other since I joined Community Tampa Bay as its new Executive Director in March. If there is anything I’ve learned in my brief time here so far, it’s that we change lives. I am so humbled and honored to have the opportunity to lead such an incredible organization! My whole life has been dedicated to social justice, both personally and professionally, and I am excited to continue the journey with Community Tampa Bay. Growing up in a diverse community, surrounded by a family passionate about civic engagement and service, I naturally gravitated toward non-profit leadership. Most recently, I was the Executive Director of an organization in the San Francisco Bay Area where we provided new shoes and clothing to thousands of homeless and low-income children each year. For over 15 years, my experiences have allowed me to manage programs, lead fundraising and communications initiatives, serve on Boards and Advisory Boards and volunteer with community organizations in the US and overseas. My passion has always been celebrating diversity and supporting an end to discrimination. I’m thrilled to be a part of a team of devoted donors, volunteers and staff working to do […]
F.L.Y presents: “As Long As I Got My Dress And Tie”!
The F.L.Y. (Facilitating the Leadership of Youth) Society presents the final summit for the 2013-2014 year: As Long As I Got My Dress And Tie (Gender Stereotypes And Why They Suck) May 31st 4-8PM This summit will revolve around gender stereotypes and answers the question, “are they relevant?” It was created by youth for youth with FREE food and entertainment! REGISTER HERE! Questions? Call (727-568-9333) or email ( *A waiver is required for participants under 18! For more info, see the flyer below! Share This:
Mar 13
F.L.Y. Teens to Host IDERD Summit!
The F.L.Y. (Facilitating the Leadership of Youth) Society proudly invites you to the I.D.E.R.D. (International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination) summit, The Art of Togetherness: An Epic Showcase to End Racial Discrimination March 21st 600- 900 PM This summit was created by youth for youth with FREE food and entertainment! REGISTER HERE! Questions? Call (727-568-9333) or email ( *A waiver is required for participants under 18! For more info, see the flyer below! Share This:
Hey ANYTOWN™ Volunteers!
As the ANYTOWN™ sessions draws nearer, it’s time to refresh, enhance, and strength your skill sets with the Staff Development Trainings! Just remember, you must attend 1 (new or existing) Administrative Trainings, at least 3 out of 6 offered Topic Specific Trainings, and you may use 1 of 3 Quadrant Trainings as replacement for a topic specific. Ready?! Here’s the link to all the training dates and times! If you have any questions or would like to RSVP, call (727) 568-9333 or email Sarah at Share This:
ANYTOWN™ Applicants and Volunteers!
The ANYTOWN™ season has already begun! ANYTOWN™ is the area’s premier youth leadership and diversity education program. Thousands of young people have already created more inclusive and just schools and communities where everyone is treated with respect and understanding. We begin THIS summer’s intensive residential program now. We will continue growth throughout the 2014-2015 year via the Be Intentional Institute, which provides ongoing opportunities for service and leadership development utilizing the skills and attitudes developed at ANYTOWN™. Community Tampa Bay brings together a diverse mix of students and staff from a wide variety of backgrounds to create each delegate class. All youth meeting ages 14-18 or entering grades 9-12 are encouraged to apply!   Want to attend ANYTOWN™ this summer for the first time? The 2014 ANYTOWN™ Dates are: Sunday June 29th – Thursday July 3rd Sunday July 20th – Thursday July 24th How do you apply? Click here to download the 2014 Program Participant Application! Want to be a Residential Volunteer at ANYTOWN™ this summer? Put your passion for ending discrimination into practice! ANYTOWN™ begins in less than 5 months!!! The Volunteer Interest Form, via SurveyMonkey, has officially been released.  This is the first step to applying for service at a residential session of ANYTOWN™ 2014. […]
ANYTOWN™ Volunteer: Stephanie Coates
In Stephanie Coates’ junior year of high school, she was encouraged to go to ANYTOWN™. The following summer of 2007, she attended the program and has been a part of the CommunityTampaBay community since her delegation year. “ANYTOWN™ quietly impacted me,” she stated. Inspired and excited, she sought immediate involvement. “ANYTOWN™ makes you realize you have to take charge as a youth. I didn’t think I could do anything worthwhile in the community.” Like many youth, Stephanie did not think she could make a difference as a young person. Through the CTB program HYC, the Hillsborough Youth Collaborative, Stephanie was able to follow up with the youth change initiative. She eventually became an unpaid youth program assistant for HYC by taking on a stronger leadership role. Her proudest memory is of leading the group to the 2010 Children’s Week event in Tallahassee. The program brought together a panel of 12 youth from across the state of Florida to discuss the government’s role in issues that impact children and youth. HYC had the most panel representation from one organization, comprising of over half the youth present. Stephanie has impacted over 200 youth through volunteering with ANYTOWN™ so far. “The more years […]
Dec 17
ANYTOWN™ Reunion – Jan 4th, 2014!
By Sara Miller The annual ANYTOWN™ reunion is getting closer! Being a delegate from this summer, I’m not really sure what to expect at the reunion. Regardless of the day’s agenda, I can guarantee that everyone will have an awesome time. First of all, you get to see all the friends you made at your session. I know in my session, we’ve stayed really close, so the chance to all be together again sounds fantastic. Even if your session has drifted, this is a great opportunity to reconnect. This is also a time to brush up on your discrimination-ending skills. Dialogue, inclusion, advocating… does this sound familiar? I’m definitely taking this reunion as a refresher for my leadership tools. It’s a way to share with others and learn from their ideas as well. For a little over a month, I’ve had the opportunity to speak with delegates from other sessions by making phone calls to remind them about the reunion. Not only have we talked about the event, but I’ve been able to connect with delegates over their accomplishments and use of their ANYTOWN™ skills. It’s been so great to hear about what everyone has been able to do to make […]
HAWL Luncheon
  On December 11, 2013, Director of Programs Jessica Estevez and long time volunteer Shivani Alamo represented Community Tampa Bay at the Hillsborough Association for Women Lawyers Celebration luncheon (HAWL) hosted by attorneys, Mamie Wise (past Anytowner), Katherine Yanes (parent of a Iliana Yanes, Anytowner 2013) and Victoria McCloskey. The HAWL organization has 250 members and are dedicated to promoting diversity in the legal profession. Visit to learn more about their organization. Thanks for representing CTB Shivani and Jessica! Share This:
PCS Partner‏
“I stood in a room full of leaders – full of your future bosses, executives & employees, and each of them was a leader. They all stood out in a different way. They all shined!” – Thalia, 2013 ANYTOWN™ Delegate Community Tampa Bay and Pinellas County Schools continue to work together in successful partnership. Through the ANYTOWN™ program, the District-Wide Youth Leadership Conferences, school-specific Youth Conferences, and an on-going middle school PMAC class, we are continuing to cultivate leaders to change our communities. We welcomed 58 Pinellas delegates to our 2013 residential ANYTOWN™ sessions this summer. We are proud to report our 2013 residential ANYTOWN™ sessions had representation from all public high schools except one, in addition to three middle schools and an exceptional education school. All ANYTOWN™ graduates are invited to continue their involvement with Community Tampa Bay for a year (and beyond!) through a series of skill-building trainings, an ongoing youth group which plans youth summits open to the public, and opportunities to host Youth Conferences and Unity Days at their high schools. Throughout this school year, it is our goal to visit 100% of Pinellas high schools with Anytowners this year at least once to both cultivate […]