City commissioners began last night’s Jan. 23 regular meeting by proclaiming February as Black History Month and January as Human Trafficking Awareness Month in New Smyrna Beach.
Black History Month pays tribute to the generations of Black people who struggled with adversity to achieve full citizenship in American society. Here in New Smyrna Beach, the Mary S. Harrell Black Heritage Museum preserves and displays photos, oral histories, memorabilia, and artifacts that teach the history of local race relations over the course of the 20th century.
Mayor Fred Cleveland called upon all public officials, educators, local business owners, librarians, and citizens of New Smyrna Beach to observe this month with appropriate programs, activities, and ceremonies in his reading of the proclamation.
Human trafficking involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act. Every year, millions of men, women, and children are trafficked worldwide—including here in New Smyrna Beach. Traffickers might use violence, manipulation, false promises of well-paying jobs, and romantic relationships to lure victims into trafficking situations.
As part of the proclamation, Mayor Cleveland reaffirmed the city’s commitment to creating a victim service and criminal justice response that assists victims of human trafficking and urged its residents, agencies, and champions to support efforts and action to end human trafficking.
To report allegations of human trafficking or abuse, neglect, or abandonment of a child or a vulnerable adult, visit the Florida Department of Children and Families at www.myflfamilies.com or call the Florida Abuse Hotline at 800-962-2873. To report human trafficking to law enforcement, immediately call 855-FLA-SAFE (352-7233) or local authorities at 386-424-2220.
Would you like to know more? Watch video replay of this meeting now here and contact the City Clerk’s Office at firstname.lastname@example.org or 386-410-2630.
In this photo, from left, Zone 4 Commissioner Randy Hartman, Zone 2 Commissioner Lisa Martin, Ann Harrell, Zone 3 Commissioner Jason McGuirk, Zone 1 Commissioner Valli Perrine, and Mayor Fred Cleveland pose after proclaiming February as Black History Month in New Smyrna Beach on Jan. 23, 2024.
In this photo, from left, Zone 3 Commissioner Jason McGuirk, Mental Health Clinician Kimberly Jensen, Detective Beverly Daly, Chief of Police Eric Feldman, Circuit 7 Community Development Administrator Christina Gillis, Zone 4 Commissioner Randy Hartman, Zone 2 Commissioner Lisa Martin, Victim Advocate Coordinator Fonda Mrnacaj, Zone 1 Commissioner Valli Perrine, Domestic Intervention Advocate Kari Kraft, and Mayor Fred Cleveland pose after proclaiming January as Human Trafficking Awareness Month in New Smyrna Beach on Jan. 23, 2024.