BY GWEN ATKINS
The Bradenton/Sarasota (FL) Chapter of the Links Incorporated hosted their first candidate forum Saturday, October 29, 2016 from 2:00-4:30 p.m. at the Selby Library in Sarasota, Florida. The guest were addressed and welcomed by the president of The Links, Mrs. Doris Johnson, followed by opening comments by Mrs. Joyce Locklear the voter Education Czar. The candidates were introduced by Dr. Lawrence Miller, political analyst, who also served as moderator. Mrs. Joyce Locklear the voter education Czar had invited candidates on the Federal State, and local levels both Republicans and Democrats in Manatee, Sarasota, and surrounding counties. Even through many candidates were invited and participated in the forum. The eight candidates that participated were: Jan Schneider, Florida 16th Congressional District, Edward James III, Florida House of Representatives, District 72, James T. Holden, Florida House of Representatives District 73, Fredd Atkins, District 1 Sarasota County Commissioner, Mike Moran, District 1 Sarasota County Commissioner, Todd Barton, Sarasota Clerk of Court Edward G. Viltz – Manatee County School Board District 1 and Gina Mesenger Manatee County School Board
The Suncoast Women of Action whose president is Mrs. Helen James worked with the Links in presenting the forum. The forum was well organized including: Time keepers Bernadine Rice and Penny Jackson, screeners Shirley Shaw, Suncoast Women of Action, and Margie Jaudon from the Links, Inc. Pagers were Laura Ward and
Francina Holloway and hostesses Tasha Ward, Adrienne Paramore and Barbara Sturdivant, we also welcomed two new Links to our chapter that attended the forum Mrs. Barbara Sturdivant and Mrs. Lois B. Wilkens. The forum was well at- tended and the moderator received many questions from the audience for the candidate. The closing remarks was given by Mrs. Gwendolyn Atkins, The Chairperson of National Trends and Services the facet which the candidate forum comes under. Mrs. Atkins also thanked the candidates, the moderator, the Suncoast women of the action and all the committees as well as the audience for their participation and support.
Now who are the Links? The Links organization was formed on November 9, 1946 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania by two ladies Margaret Roselle Hawkins and Sarah Strickland Scott along with seven of their friends.
It was in the wake of World War II. The two women envisioned a service oriented organization that would have a two-fold purpose – to promote civic educational and cultural concerns, and to lead black women into post war America. Today the Links has a membership of nearly 13,000 women of African descent in 275 chapters located in 42 states, the District of Columbia and the commonwealth of the Bahamas. The Bradenton/ Sarasota Chapter of the Links, Inc., President is Mrs. Doris A. Johnson.