Jetie Wildsby Representative Kathy Castor
Posted on 2015-02-24
in the house of representatives
Tuesday, February 24, 2015
Ms. CASTOR of Florida. Mr. Speaker, I am honored to recognize the
outstanding and invaluable contributions of African Americans during
Black History Month and all year long. I am proud to pay tribute to
African American men and women who exemplify the spirit of selfless and
I rise today to pay tribute to a truly gifted leader of the Tampa Bay community, Mr. Jetie Wilds. Mr. Wilds dedicated his life to educating people about public service, bringing communities together, and inspiring a way forward for all people in Tampa. Today it is a privilege for me to honor his incredible legacy.
Mr. Wilds was born in Tampa, Florida to a family of 12 children. At a young age, Mr. Wilds volunteered on political campaigns and developed a passion for political activism and engagement. This strong commitment to bettering the community led him to Morehouse College in Atlanta where he obtained a Bachelor's degree. He was deeply involved in the civil rights movement by regularly participating in peace marches and sit-ins. During this time, Mr. Wilds married his wife of over 49 years, Ozepher. Mr. Wilds then began his career staying true to his roots as a public servant by becoming a middle school math teacher.
Mr. Wilds' public advocacy was not limited to civil rights; he was an ardent environmentalist who served as a community organizer for greater environmental regulations in Portland, Oregon. While there, he obtained a Master's degree in urban planning at Portland State University. His knowledge of environmental policy later led him to Washington, D.C. where he conducted research on the impact of environmental regulations on the African American community.
Mr. Wilds returned to Tampa in 1996 and spearheaded his now locally renowned radio show, Citizen's Report. During each broadcast, Mr. Wilds brought to light the significant issues facing the Tampa Bay community. He quickly developed a rapport with his audience because of his intellect and candor that kept the show on air for over 15 years. His efforts to educate and inspire action on important political issues continued through his weekly column in Tampa's trilingual newspaper, La Gaceta. This column consistently provided a profound perspective on issues that transcended cultural and racial boundaries.
Mr. Wilds' leadership and tireless work earned him numerous accolades including Man of the Year from the Portland Junior Chamber of Commerce, Boss of the Year from the Professional Women's Organization and Distinguished College Alumnus from the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education.
Mr. Wilds will always be remembered as a leader who united people of all races and ethnicities for the common cause of community betterment. Whether he was running for office, teaching a class or providing an insightful voice for our community on the radio--Jetie Wilds was a true public servant. On September 21, 2014, Mr. Wilds passed away at the age of 74. Mr. Speaker, I join the Tampa Bay community in thanking Mr. Jetie Wilds, Jr. for his lifelong service to the State of Florida.