For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Danielle Weitlauf
Sole surviving member of St. Petersburg’s Courageous 12 reflects on historic actions of 1965
(St. Petersburg, FL – April 18, 2023) Mr. Leon Jackson, St. Petersburg Police Chief Anthony Holloway, and former St. Petersburg Police Chief Goliath Davis will join with the community at the Center for Health Equity on Thursday, April 27, to honor and reflect on the achievements of the Courageous 12. The program, Courageous 12: A Legacy of Equity, will reflect on the achievements of those historic Black officers and address how racial equity in policing has progressed over the last 30 years.
“The efforts of Mr. Jackson and the other members of the Courageous 12 advanced equity not just in St. Petersburg but also served as an inspiration for police officers around the nation,” shared Reverend Kenneth Irby, Board of Trustees, Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg. “It is an honor and a privilege to sit with Mr. Jackson, former Police Chief Goliath Davis and current Police Chief Anthony Holloway, to discuss the history of racial equity in policing and where we are today.”
In the 1960s, the St. Petersburg Police Department mirrored the segregation of the city; Black officers had no authority to arrest white citizens or patrol white areas of the city. On May 11, 1965, after appealing to the chief of the St. Petersburg Police Department on multiple occasions, 12 of the city’s 15 black police officers filed a discrimination lawsuit to gain the full rights and authority of their white counterparts. They chose to move forward with the decision even though they knew it could cost them their livelihoods.
“It was not an easy choice, but we 12 Black police officers were standing up for what we believed in. We weren’t against anyone personally, we were standing up and challenging racism,” said Leon Jackson. “There is no doubt our actions as the Courageous 12 helped Black officers reach many goals that were once considered unattainable.”
The event at the Center for Health Equity will introduce the story of the Courageous 12, engage featured guests in a panel discussion, honor Mr. Jackson and the families of the other Courageous 12 members, and allow time for connection among the community.
Thursday, April 27
5:30 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Center for Healthy Equity
2333 34th Street South
St. Petersburg, FL 33711
About the Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg
The Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg is a private foundation formed in 2013 following the sale of the nonprofit Bayfront Health St. Petersburg. It is the steward of an endowment to support health equity in Pinellas County. The Foundation achieves health equity through racial equity by listening humbly, learning fearlessly, and leading courageously to impact systems change. In 2019, it opened the Center for Health Equity to invite people to learn, connect, and create together in order to advance racial equity and transform our communities. To learn more, visit https://healthystpete.foundation/