This week's Black History Month Spotlight is on Commissioner Clayton Lopez with the City of Key West, District VI.
Here are some questions we ask Commissioner Lopez:
Q: What is the most important event or milestone to occur in your lifetime?
A: Most people would probably say the murder of Martin Luther King. Mine was the desegregation of schools here in Monroe County. We were so unprepared to join in with an oh-so different culture and they were equally unprepared to accept us into their schools… that includes the teachers and administrators (even those who truly welcomed us).It was a tumultuous time… sometimes violent… although by no means on the level that we would come home and see on the news. I was going through adolescence… which exacerbated an already difficult time for any young man.
Q: Who has been the most inspiring leader to influence you in your personal and professional career?
A: I am sincerely blessed to have had my greatest influences in my family and my immediate community. My parents, grandfather (Roosevelt Sands Sr.), Uncles (Roosevelt Sands Jr.), George Sands, etc. Then, there was Willie Ward, Bill Huckle, Bill Church, Crispus Martin, clergy, Otha Cox, Ms. Betty Cox, Mrs. Essie Mae Granberry-Grey, Mr. Tom Marmion, Mr. Frank Mashuda. Most of these were educators and community leaders… including those members of my family who had immense patience with a rebellious, non-studious non-conforming young man.
Q: What is the most important conversation that the business community should be having?
A: How to be more welcoming inclusive and nurturing of new business talent, is the short answer. There is a perception that business cares about money, not people. To a large extent, I believe that to be true on the national stage… but, we in Key West are indeed blessed to have a benevolent business community that (like the City Commission, myself included) does not make our benevolence or our desire for inclusion known to enough of the community.
Q: Do you have a favorite quote?
A: No plot of land our size, ANYWHERE on this earth, can boast the contribution to Black History, American History and World History as this little 2X4 mile island we call home.”
Another is “I have been handed a legacy that I cannot betray. I want my grandchildren to be as proud of their grandfather as I am of mine. I want to hand that legacy on for them to carry.”
Q: Tell us a little bit about your business.
A: The City Government is charged with governance and looking out for the best interest of the City of Key West’s Health Safety and Welfare, while maintaining allegiance to the Constitution of the United States, the State of Florida and our own City Charter.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.