October 21, 2016, Eatonville, Florida – The Association to Preserve the Eatonville Community, Inc. (P.E.C.) held its Annual Business Meeting on Thursday evening, October 20 in the Cafeteria of the Historic Robert Hungerford High School. A family-style gathering where participants brought a dish to share, this intergenerational audience numbering 75 heard presenters report on a number of activities , including the ZORA!™ STEM Initiative, the UCF – P.E.C. Partnership, the Yards & Gardens Club of Historic Eatonville, and the partnership with Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc.
A highlight of the evening was the presentation of awards for outstanding service to the organization: Tracey Harris-Dowdell for her volunteerism with grants preparation at the local, state and federal levels and Lester Cunningham and Ruford Shepherd for their leadership with the Yards & Gardens Club of Historic Eatonville. P.E.C. also recognized two elected officials: State Senator Geraldine Thompson and Congresswoman Corrine Brown; the Senator for her advocacy on behalf of black cultural tourism and securing $1M in funding for the Sankofa Project and the Congresswoman for her 22 years of fearless leadership on behalf of her constituents.
Officers elected for a 2016 – 2018 term were: Winfred “Chad” McKendrick, President; Tadayuki (Tad) Hara, Ph.D., Vice President; Reginald B. McGill, Treasurer; Harietta Finley White, Secretary; and Marie-José François, M.D., Immediate Past President. Ava K. Doppelt, Esq. was elected to serve another three-year term and Thomas S. Kornegay for another two-year term.
“Dr. Francois has been successful in guiding our organization through some very challenging times,” said Chad Mc Kendrick. “Because of her leadership, we have been able to survive when some expected us to have to close our doors. Now, instead of surviving, I look forward to our thriving.”
The mission of P.E.C. is to enhance the resources of Eatonville, popularly known as “the oldest incorporated African American municipality in the U.S.” and the hometown of writer, folklorist, and anthropologist Zora Neale Hurston; to educate the public about Eatonville’s historic and cultural significance; and to use the community’s heritage and cultural vibrancy for its economic development