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First Coast Connect

9/6/2017: Ibram Kendi; 'Going Green'; Infant Mortality Awareness; Tag! Children's Museum

Tuesday on “First Coast Connect,” we spoke with New York Times bestselling author Ibram Kendi about his latest book, “Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideals in America” (03:05). Our Going Green segment featured North Florida Transportation Planning Organization Executive Director Jeff Sheffield on the upcoming North Florida Electric Drive Rally (21:13), and Angela DeMonbreun, executive director of Florida Solar United Neighborhoods, and homeowner Warren Clark talked about the recently established St. Johns County solar co-op (31:56). CEO of the Healthy Northeast Florida Healthy Start Coalition Faye Johnson told us about September’s being National Infant Mortality Awareness Month (38:44), and the Executive Director of the forthcoming Tag! Children’s Museum in St. Augustine brought us an update on the project (43:04).    


Ibram Kendi

Ibram Kendi is an assistant professor of African-American history at the University of Florida and one of the nation’s foremost authorities on the history of racism in the country. In “Stamped From the Beginning,” Kendi focuses on the racism of good intentions. Kendi will be giving a lecture at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Robinson Theatre on the UNF campus. Tickets are free but registration is required.

North Florida Electric Drive Rally

Electric vehicles are becoming more common on the First Coast. The North Florida TPO is encouraging more drivers to consider them because they have a smaller carbon footprint than gas-fueled vehicles. Whether you already have an EV or are just curious you can attend the TPO’s fourth annual Drive Electric Rally. It will be 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Sept. 13 at Intuition Ale Works. You can meet with EV drivers to learn their experience firsthand. Dealers will have ride and drive opportunities with the latest EV models and you'll enjoy snacks from Black Sheep. It’s free but you are asked toregister ahead.

St. Johns Solar Co-op

Florida Solar United Neighborhoods aims expands access to solar by educating Floridians about the benefits of sharing the costs of solar energy and helping them organize group solar installations. The recently founded co-op in St. Johns County has issued a request for proposals from area solar installers, and they’re holding an information session 7 p.m. Sept. 13 at World Golf Village to educate the community about solar.

Infant Mortality Awareness Month

The First Coast has made strides in recent years to reduce infant mortality, but it’s still a serious health concern here in the Jacksonville area, with a rate higher than most of the rest of the state. Too many babies are dying before their first birthday because of preventable causes and lack of health services, according to the Healthy Northeast Florida Healthy Start Coalition. Each year, the area loses the equivalent of eight classes of kindergarteners.

Tag! Children’s Museum

A new museum for children opening is soon in St. Augustine. TheTag! Children’s Museum will be located next to the Target Superstore. Founders plan to start construction this fall on the four-acre lot with hopes to open by next summer.        

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.