Best Of 2020

Allendale Methodist Church

St. Petersburg’s Allendale United Methodist Church has been no stranger to activism since 2017, so it came as no surprise to see the house of worship say something about the murder of George Floyd. One side of the church sign said “George Floyd was lynched today by the police. We can’t breathe!” while the other reads, “White Supremacy: The most dangerous virus infecting our country since 1492.” We’re going to need this kind of moral clarity and gumption to call it like it is over the next month, and maybe four years. allendaleumc.org —Ray Roa

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Tampa Bay Times Mugshot Galleries

Progressive media junkies have long questioned the continued use of mugshots by Tampa Bay Times (and other papers across the country). In the midst of the George Floyd protests and a push for racial justice, Sarasota Herald-Tribune—alongside all Gannet-owned properties—made the decision to discontinue the publication of mugshot galleries. The following day, June 10, CL contributor Jo Ellen Schilke further explored the ethics of TBT’s continued use of the photos in her article, “It’s 2020, and The Tampa Bay Times still has a mugshot gallery.” Five days later on June 15, the Times announced plans to drop its mugshot galleries. “The galleries lack context and further negative stereotypes. We think the data is an important resource that our newsroom will continue to analyze and watch carefully, but the galleries alone serve little journalistic purpose,” Executive Editor Mark Katches said in a statement. It’s about damn time. —Jenna Rimensnyder 

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Winner: Elliott Darrow @elliott.darrow on Facebook

Second Place: Naomi Ardjomand-Kermani adifferentkindofdifferent.com

Runner Up: Anthony Koedel @anthony.koedel on Facebook

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Winner: Drew Garabo Live theboneonline.com

Second Place: The Nut House - WiLD 94.1 wild941.com

Runner Up: Serrano in the Afternoons hot1015tampabay.com

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Tampa Museum of Art

Art is supposed to be for everyone, but let’s face it: admission to the museum isn’t always tops on the list of families trying to make ends meet—especially in the coronavirus era. That’s why it was cool to see the Tampa Museum of Art say that anyone receiving food assistance can show their EBT card and get in free (as of July, that’s 152,000 families in Hillsborough alone). In May, Nina Contreras Womeldurf, TMA’s Director of Marketing and Communications, told CL that the museum has no end date in mind for the “Museums for All” initiative. "We want to keep it as a permanent feature if sponsorship funding continues to be available,” she said. Tampamuseum.org —Ray Roa

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@the.hubs.bathroom

A dive bar’s bathroom can be a special place, but there’s not one as special as the women’s room at The Hub in downtown Tampa, and Hub lifer Chloe Davis has devoted her life (OK, well, a few hours a week) to celebrating it via her @the.hubs.bathroom Instagram account. Lately, since The Hub was to-go only, the feed has been of feet (yum), but the entire thing just feels like a love letter to a dive, and that’s certainly worth remembering as the joint navigates reopening.—Ray Roa

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Winner: Pass-a-Grille Beach visitpassagrille.com

Second Place: Treasure Island visitstpeteclearwater.com

Runner Up: Clearwater Beach visitclearwaterflorida.com

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Winner: Tiger King cltampa.com 

Second Place: Everything about 2020 

Runner Up: Nocturnal Restaurant Group / Lanfranco Pescante cltampa.com

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Winner: I Love the Burg ilovetheburg.com 

Second Place: St. Pete Rising stpeterising.com

Runner Up: Julie Silva Williams

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Kelly Benjamin Being Mistaken For A Cop

On July 31, longtime CL contributor and activist-journalist Kelly Benjamin found himself walking with protesters who were marching in and around Tampa’s Riverbend neighborhood as part of a demonstration at Mayor Jane Castor’s house. Benjamin, a two-time City Council candidate who’s faced off with Charlie Miranda and Rose Ferlita, had just shaved his mustache, which might have contributed to what happened next, but someone asked Kelly if he was a cop. Benjamin was arrested at the 2008 RNC (charges were dropped, but his civil rights were violated). Police shot him with a rubber-coated steel bullet during a protest at the Free Trade Area of the America's meeting Miami in 2003. The Chamberlain High grad even won a WMNF Peace Award and helped co-found 87X, a low-powered late-90s radio station in Ybor City. He’s also been a longtime member of the fight to create a Community Review Board with investigatory powers and other privileges that give the CRB true independence and teeth. Benjamin wasn’t phased by being mislabeled as a cop, but the moment provided a little levity during a movement that’s been an uphill battle for protesters who’ve been on the street since May. —Ray Roa

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