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First Coast Connect

3/29/2017: Nehemiah Assembly; Green Lion Festival; 'You Don't Know Me'; Entrepreneurship Symposium

  Wednesday on “First Coast Connect” we met members of the Interfaith Coalition for Action, Reconciliation and Empowerment; Pastor James Wiggins from St. Paul Lutheran Church, Nancy Ricker from Arlington Congregational Church and Pastor Phillip Baber from Unitarian Universalist Church of Jacksonville talked about Monday’s annual Nehemiah Assembly. We also heard from Mary Ann Myler, U.S. Green Building Council Florida coordinator and Downtown Vision CEO Jake Gordon about the upcoming Green Lion Festival. We were told about the upcoming “You Don’t Know Me” reading to fight sexual abuse with writer Diana Herman, Program Director Robin Graber and Nassau County Advocate of the Women’s Center of Jacksonville Lori Armstrong. University of Florida’s Nola Miyasaki told us about Thursday’s Women’s Entrepreneurship Symposium.      

ICARE Nehemiah Assembly

ICARE held its annual Nehemiah Assembly at the Abyssinia Baptist Church. Faithful from across the city attend this high-powered event and typically public officials are invited to show up as well and take direct pressure from the group about the need to pursue social justice concerns. More than 1,500 people attended this year’s event.  The agenda included combating homelessness, how to fund an ex-offender re-entry center and the use of civil citations for minors who get in trouble with the law. Sheriff Mike Williams and State Attorney Melissa Nelson were in attendance but Mayor Lenny Curry was not, a rare occurrence for a sitting Mayor. Curry said he told the group he couldn’t appear because he was previously committed to attending his son’s baseball game with his family.        

Green Lion Festival

April is National Earth Month an expansion of Earth Day. The annual Green Lion Celebration by the USGBCF promotes awareness of green-focused businesses and organizations in northeast Florida. It’s the first year the festival will be partnering with Downtown Vision and Art Walk. The festival will take over two blocks of Laura Street between Adams and Bay streets from 5-9 p.m. April 5.         

You Don’t Know Me

The project stems from the controversy over Brock Turner.

Turner was a college student who was sentenced to just three months in prison for sexually assaulting a young woman on the Stanford University campus. Judge Aaron Persky publically noted how “a prison sentence would have a severe impact on him” as he passed sentence. The ruling set off a worldwide firestorm about sports figures getting preferential treatment is assault cases.      

After the assault, the victim wrote a letter to him about her experience.

Now that letter is being read on a local stage to mark Sexual Assault Awareness Month in April. It’s a project to benefit the Women’s Center of Jacksonville-Nassau Rape Crisis Division.

The readings will take place at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the Amelia Community Theatre’s Studio 200

Entrepreneurship Symposium

The Women’s Entrepreneurship Symposium, presented by the Entrepreneurship & Innovation Center at University of Florida Warrington College of Business, will address key trends and issues involving women in entrepreneurship. It will also talk about strategies for budding businesswomen. Entrepreneurs who have created a diverse mix of companies will share their stories and experiences. The headliner will be Vera Bradey co-founder Barbara Bradley Baekgaard. The event will be held in the Reitz Union Grand Ballroom in Gainesville from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m Thursday.    

Producer Kevin Meerschaert can be reached at, 904-358-6334 or on Twitter at @KMeerschaertJax.


Kevin Meerschaert has left WJCT for new pursuits. He was the producer of First Coast Connect until October of 2018.