West Orange Reconciliation Task Force

About the WORTF

The West Orange Reconciliation Task Force(WORTF) is comprised of Ocoee and West Orange citizens of mixed racial and ethnic backgrounds who seek to promote racial goodwill. That goodwill currently suffers from a legacy of particularly devastating events headed by events of racial violence on Election Day , 1920. That legacy includes a perception of un-welcomeness among African-Americans and an undercurrent of racial unrest to this day.

The efforts of the WORTF, currently envisioned for a five year time frame, include four broad areas of activity:

  • Tell the Story
  • Honor the Memory
  • Heal the Wounds
  • Economic Empowerment

No one living in Ocoee today was a participant in the events of Election Day,1920. Consequently, none among us bears any personal responsibility for what happened. However, we believe that there is a role for everyone to play in the current and in future reconciliation efforts. If you agree with our statement of core values and with our program of reconciliation, we urge that you consider and that take whatvever level of supportive activity that would be appropriate for you or your family, or your company, association or civic group to take.
WORTF has received the sponsorship of West Orange Ministerial Association(501c3).

Who We are in 2008

Co-Chairmen

  • Rev Jerry Girley
    Pastor Zion Community Church; Board of Directors National Conference for Community and Justice; Director of Programs for Central Florida. Co-Chair.
  • Rev Brian Stamper
    Pastor St. Paul’s Presbyterian Church; 27 years service to our community and commitment to community affairs. Co-Chair.

Board Members

  • Lester Dabbs, Jr.
    40 year resident of Ocoee; former Mayor and Commissioner of Ocoee; retired principal; Master Degree Thesis: Circumstances and Events of Election Day, 1920”
  • Rev. Freddie Filmore, Sr.
    Pastor, Freedom Ministries Apopka; resident of Orange County since 1951; aerospace quality engineer; former public school teacher; current President of Community Policing Interaction Association of Apopka.
  • Rev Mike Yoakum
    Pastor, Cornerstone Community Church; Past president of West Orange Ministerial Association; life-long Central Florida Resident.
  • Betty Ervine
    Native of Michigan, retired Michigan teacher, Betty has lived in Ocoee for 25 years; volunteer at Ronald McDonald house; is current VP of the Ocoee Historical Commission; is retired from the Air Force Reserve; currently holds memberships in the West Orange Chamber of Commerce and the Orlando Shakespeare Guild.
  • Joy Wallace Dickinson
    A resident of Orlando, Florida and the author of the “Florida Flashbacks” column in the Orlando Sentinel; Ms. Dickinson is working on compiling the several versions of the 1920 events.
  • Jim Fleming
    Grandson of the first gunshot victim of the raid on the July Perry house in November 1920; Jim is active in Veterans affairs; retired firefighter.

 

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