It is with great honor that we inform our readers of our new General Manager, Opio Sokoni. Many in the city know Mr. Sokoni from his work as the president of the local SCLC. His term there was marked with action. Under his leadership the name “Forrest” finally came down from the high school that was named after the confederate general. He was also instrumental in organizing the vigilance in front of the courthouse during the Michael Dunn trial. Dunn was convicted and sentenced to prison for killing Jacksonville teen, Jordan Davis for refusing to turn down his music.
Opio was placed on the front page of the Times Union for his work on the life of Bessie Coleman. She was the first black woman to fly an airplane. Coleman, also called Queen Bess, was a sensation in the early years of flight as a barnstorming aviatrix. She tragically fell to her death in 1926 while preparing for a huge air show in Jacksonville, Florida. The City Council presented Opio Sokoni with a declaration recognizing Brave Bessie.
Mr. Sokoni is not new to newspapers or the media. During his years at Howard University’s law school, he ran the student newspaper. After leaving Washington, DC working as an activist lobbyist fighting against the war on drugs, he went to Portland, Oregon to manage a historical black radio station. His work there also included laying out and distributing the Portland Medium newspaper. “Having relied on the black press during research of past projects, I understand the importance of the Florida Star,” says Opio Sokoni. “My goal is to continue to join it with new media and take it to where even more people will anticipate reading a copy each week,” he added.
The Florida Star has also gained another writer in Mr. Sokoni. He is an author many times over. His books include, “I Want to Be a Lawyer When I Grow Up,” “Controlling Blue: Race Media and Policing” and “Bessie Coleman Flying the Blues”; to name a few. He is also an adjunct Professor at Jacksonville University where he teaches criminology. Opio has four documentary films to his credit and is currently working on a film entitled, Street Stars: A Crime Reduction Theory. He says it will change the way we seek solutions to violent crime in cities across the country. “We at the Florida Star newspaper are so happy to have Opio join us”, stated the owner and publisher, Clara McLaughlin, “and can’t wait to see where his talents will take us.”