SARASOTA, FLA. - National Civil rights activist and former Chairman of the National NAACP, Julian Bond gave a quick speech to members of Truvine Missionary Baptist Church on Sunday afternoon.
The church hosted a reception in Bond’s honor but before posing for pictures and signing autographs, he reminded the crowd about the importance of being a registered voter.
“If you don’t vote, you really don’t count. If you don’t vote you don’t decide who your mayor is, your governor is, your President is and if you don’t decide those things it means you are letting someone else pick them and that is got to be bad news for you if you are let somebody else pick your public officials.”
Julian Bond was in Sarasota at the request of the Sarasota County Democratic Party.
“Every year what we really like to do is not only have a fundraiser but we really like to have dialogue about important issue of today and this is the third year in a row that we are going to be talking about civil rights,” explained party chair Rita Ferrandino.
“We have made tremendous progress from the time that I was young, which was many years ago until now, we have made a lot of progress but we haven’t made enough,” said Bond. “There is still more to do and all of us need to put our shoulders to the wheel and make sure it is done.”
He told ABC 7, the civil rights movement has not done enough to integrate residential neighborhoods.
“In most cities in America, north, south, east and west, the white people live over here and the black people live over here and as long as some people live separated, it means that some people are not getting the best jobs, not going to the best schools, not having the best kind of life.”
It is a feeling echoed by Sarasota vice mayor Willie Charles Shaw.
“Have we gotten to were we want to be? Not hardly, not hardly, when we can still say Sarasota is the 13th most segregated city in the United States of America,” said Shaw.
Bond said in order to affect change everyone needs to work together.