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First Coast Connect

Media Roundtable; Jacksonville Melanin Market

Visitors at a Melanin Market event.
The Melanin Market
Visitors at a Melanin Market event.

Today’s Media Roundtable discussed some of the top stories on the First Coast, including:

  • JEA customers facing rising bills could see some reprieve in the coming months, utility officials announced Tuesday, but not before experiencing one more rate hike. Meanwhile, customers are still struggling to pay record high bills. Sheila Pressley, Chief Customer Officer, says that the utility is trying to work with customers to keep them connected and paid up.
  • Jacksonville’s 2023 mayoral race has the most diverse field of candidates in city history. Four candidates are Republicans, three are Democrats and two are not affiliated with either party. Five are women and four are men. The candidates include three Black contenders and a Cuban-American.
  • The city of Jacksonville might alter its long-established process forawarding grants to nonprofits by giving organizations a second chance to apply if they missed the July 1 deadline – a switch nonprofit advocates say would create an unfair playing field. The prospect of changing the usual format has met opposition from members of the Public Service Grant Council, a group of volunteer appointees who grade the applications. The grant council's members have repeatedly questioned why City Council members support inviting more applications without adding money to the $6 million pot that will be available for such grants. 
  • Community activist Earl Johnson Jr. filed a new amended complaint in federal court seeking the removal of dozens of monuments to the Confederacy across North and Central Florida – 10 of which are in Duval County. The lawsuit, which names Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, claims that keeping the monuments up at taxpayer expense is a violation of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, the 13th Amendment, the 14th Amendment due process clause and more.
  • Duval Schools says they’re not banning books after landing on a widely publicized list of districts banning school books this week. The district contends the list is false. PEN America released a tally of books banned across the country that includes more than 550 in Florida, the second-most of any state. At least 175 of the books banned in Florida were in Duval County Public Schools. 


Jacksonville Melanin Market 

The Jacksonville Melanin Market is the largest collection of Black-owned businesses in Northeast Florida. It is the primary event for Black retailers, artists and nonprofits to connect with the local community. This Saturday, September 24, from 12-6 p.m. in Northwest Jacksonville, locals will show their appreciation for the community at the first Northside L.O.V.E. event in eight year, where guests can check out more than 150 Black-owned businesses, nonprofits and artists. Other attractions include a KidZone with activities, cultural foods, performances by local musicians and award presentations for local do-gooders and impactful heroes.

Guest: Angie Nixon, Jacksonville Melanin Market co-founder and state representative.

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Gary Autry is joining WJCT from Florida State College at Jacksonville as a production intern for the fall 2022 semester. A native of the First Coast, Gary is finishing his bachelor’s degree in communication and media this fall.