In an era fraught with conflict and discord, is unity possible? .

For the eight winners of our 2024 Unity Awards, the answer is a resounding yes. These outstanding individuals work every day to bring our community together—by creating opportunities for artists of color, teaching residents about the ecological benefits of composting, counseling young people about the importance of mental health and in countless other ways. Each of them is dedicated to making Sarasota stronger and more vibrant, and our city is a better place because of them.

In This Feature:

David Wilkins Brings Black History to Students Who Aren’t Learning It at School

Freedom School is a series of free lessons on African and African American history for students in grades K-12 that launched last February and was renewed and expanded last fall.

01/01/2024 By Cooper Levey-Baker

Allan Mestel Uses Photography to Connect Sarasota to Conflict Around the World

"My images will always be available to anyone to represent the truth.” 

01/01/2024 By Kim Doleatto

Michele Redwine Shines a Spotlight on Black Artistry

“We will not allow what’s happening in Tallahassee to take away who we are—and I believe the arts play a strong part in making that happen.” 

01/01/2024 Photography by Megan McDonald

Kira-Lynn Ferderber Educates the Community About Domestic and Sexual Violence

Ferderber believes educating kids is a key part of preventing violence. “It’s so important, as adults, that we make spaces that support young people," she says.

01/01/2024 By Megan McDonald

P.J. Brooks and Scott Eller Help People Find a Safe Place to Live

Homelessness erodes people’s dignity by denying them the most basic of needs: a place to call home.

01/01/2024 By Kim Doleatto

Tracie Troxler Improves Our Soil, and Our Community, Through Composting

“Healthy plants and healthy ecology sprout from healthy soil, and so does a healthy community."

01/01/2024 By Lauren Jackson

Marlene Hauck Promotes Mental Wellness From Youth Onward

Hauck has dedicated her life to breaking down stigmas around mental illness.

01/01/2024 By Lauren Jackson