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Making Gainesville for ALL

January 10, 2022 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

Jan 10th from 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

Speaker Biosketch

JAMES F. LAWRENCE JR., a native of Orlando, is director of Gainesville for All, a community-based 501c3 organized five years ago to find systemic solutions to the region’s persistent problems linked to race and poverty.

Lawrence, who is a graduate of Howard University in Washington, D.C., retired nearly seven years ago after 42 years as a full-time journalist. He currently writes a twice-monthly column for the Gainesville Sun.

Lawrence began his journalism career shortly after graduating from Howard in the early 70s as a reporter for a black-owned weekly newspaper, The Cleveland Call and Post. He later joined United Press International in Denver, Colo., where he was among the first African Americans to cover the Colorado Legislature and the Denver Broncos.

Lawrence returned to his hometown of Orlando in the mid 1980s as a member of the Editorial Board at the Orlando Sentinel. After a two-year stint at his hometown newspaper, he joined Gannett newspapers as an associate editor in White Plains, New York. In 1992, he was named editorial page editor at the Rochester, NY Democrat and Chronicle, the second largest newspaper in Western New York. Lawrence led the opinion section of the D&C for 22 years until his retirement in December 2014.

During his career Lawrence won numerous awards, including Gannett’s top award for diversity and leadership in 2014. Upon retirement, he was presented the Democrat and Chronicle’s inaugural Publisher’s Award and was given the Key to the City by Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren.

He and his wife, Betty, now live in Live Oak, where he is a member of Ebenezer AME Church. They are parents of three adult children. They also are the proud grandparents of seven of the most talented and brightest kids on the planet.


For the time being we will continue having our forums virtually, via Zoom. We hope to be able to schedule the forums later this spring in person (maybe with lunch). We will be evaluating the impact and progress of the Omicron variant of Covid-19, etc. and keep you informed. Details to join the meeting online are sent to everyone on our email list the week prior to the meeting. If you’d like to be added to our list, please reach out via our contact form or join as a member to be automatically added to our email list.


January 10, 2022
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm


Florida Free Speech Forum


Alachua County Library
401 East University Avenue
Gainesville, FL 32601 United States
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