Nassau Racial Equality Coalition
Submitted by Brandy Carvalho
February 26, 2021
Nassau County, FL (February 25, 2021) – To coincide with the celebration of Black History month, the Nassau Racial Equality Coalition (NREC) is pleased to officially announce its presence, mission and vision to our county’s residents. The newly formed 501c3 is comprised of a diverse Board of Stakeholders who are leaders of many of the key institutions in Nassau County. These volunteers have met to establish a strategy and develop plans consistent with the group’s mission “Create a better Nassau County by improving opportunities for racial minorities. We will help residents help themselves by systemically removing barriers and inequities.”
NREC Stakeholders have committed to a vision where “Nassau County plays as one band with one sound, where everyone feels a sense of belonging, that the American dream applies to them, and there is no fear of harm due to the color of their skin.”
Formation of the organization was initiated by well-reputed community leaders, Wayne Peterson, and former auto dealer Rick Keffer. Following the death of George Floyd, both were inspired to action. “I am proud to serve as co-chair of NREC. The time has arrived in America to commit to building better lives for our Black and other minority neighbors. Their progress will benefit all of Nassau County. We have three dozen crucial stakeholders who are behind NREC. They, and I, are ready to launch this effort.,” said Mr. Keffer.
After leading the initial strategy sessions, Samir Gupte of Samiracles Consulting was named Executive Director, serving in a pro-bono capacity. Gupte has more than 30 years of experience in organizational design and effectiveness; culture and business transformation; and creating inclusive and thriving work environments. He has led Diversity, Equality and Inclusion initiatives for the City of Fernandina Beach Police Department and teaches community policing at the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office Police Academy. He has extensive experience in civil liberties, social justice, and changing hearts and minds. Samir is available for interviews.
The executive committee includes Peterson, Keffer, Nassau County Council on Aging President & CEO Janice Ancrum, State Senator Aaron Bean, Dr. Jeremy Coleman of UF Health, and Brandy Carvalho, Development Manager at White Oak Conservation.
“I am excited to be a member of the NREC,” said Mr. Peterson. “My main focus is to concentrate on awareness, relationships and commitment. I have already gained some knowledge and wisdom by being a member of the NREC.I am looking forward to the progress that will be made as the results of efforts of NREC.”
Committees have been formed to develop plans for 2021 implementation, in support of the mission in the areas of Law enforcement, Education, Economic Opportunity and Health, and are led by leaders such as the Police Chief, Bishop, School Superintendent, Lead Pastor, former County Commissioner, Regional Resort Hotel Manager, Social Services CEO, and Emergency Room Physician.
NREC can be found on Facebook here or by searching for “Nassau Racial Equality Coalition.” A photo album of the first meetings, along with a complete list of members of the Board of Stakeholders, can be found here.
“In the year 2021, no one should face being treated differently because of the color of their skin. I am encouraged and optimistic about the launch of the NREC to better our community by working to eliminate barriers so that all are treated fairly and equally,” said Senator Bean.