Best Of 2020

Best New Place To Protest: The St. Pete Pier

The St. Pete Pier

In July, when pier-goers and some outlier protesters clashed, the Tampa Bay Times’ editorial board—Elizabeth Dijinis and four white men tasked with being the “institutional voice” for the Bay area’s vaunted paper of record—asked protesters to, “Take your skateboards and go home,” adding that, “The leverage of social justice is working. There’s no sense in becoming the problem or overplaying one’s hand.” But let’s point at one of the new pier’s most alluring features: Janet Echelman’s sculpture, “Bending Arc,” which invokes Dr. Martin Luther King and his famous quote, “The arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice.” Plus, in 1955, Black St. Petersburg residents sued the city for the right to use nearby municipal Spa Beach and Pool. City Manager Ross Windom retaliated by closing the pool for “repairs” rather than allowing integration. Protests are supposed to disrupt normalcy to expedite needed change. All of it certainly requires more nuance than a Best of the Bay blurb (or newspaper editorial, quite frankly) can provide, but the pier is for everyone, including protesters. —Ray Roa

See all winners from Best of the Bay 2020.