Date ArticleType
2/11/2020 Member News

Beyond the Green Bench: A Community Conversation for a New Generation at The Historic Manhattan Casino

Panelists examine the role of controversial historical icons in modern society

February 6, 2020 [St. Petersburg, FL] -- The Florida Holocaust Museum (The FHM) and the Dr. Carter G. Woodson African American Museum are pleased to present Beyond the Green Bench: A Community Conversation for a New Generation on February 18, 2020 at 6:30 p.m. at The Historic Manhattan Casino.

Join us for a panel discussion as we reflect upon voices of the past, while examining the role of controversial historical icons in modern society. What is the line between removing hateful speech while preserving, presenting and interpreting history? How do we foster understanding and equality?

Moderated by:

  • Stephanie Owens, Community Advocate

The panelists include:

  • Ashley Sica, Publisher, Green Bench Monthly
  • Khris Johnson, Co-Owner, Green Bench Brewing
  • Hillary Van Dyke, M. ED., Senior Professional Development Coordinator for Equity, Pinellas County Schools
  • Dr. Bilan Joseph, Gibbs HS/USFSP
  • Chris Steinocher, President and CEO of the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce
  • Eula Perry, Docent, The Florida Holocaust Museum

This program is free and open to the public. RSVPs are required by February 14th via or 727.820.0100 x301. Seating is limited!

For additional information, please visit:

Presented in partnership with The Florida Holocaust Museum, the Dr. Carter G. Woodson African American Museum, and The Historic Manhattan Casino. Thank you to The St. Petersburg Celebration of the Arts for their support. This program is part of The FHM's 2020 Genocide and Human Rights Awareness Movement (GHRAM) series.

About the Moderator and the Panelists

Stephanie Owens lobbies federal, state, and local officials to develop policies that improve communities and helps people live their best lives. Owens is the principle of Dolphin Strategies LLC, in St. Petersburg, FL. The firm creates public education and participation strategies that deliver impactful citizen engagement and foster healthy communities. Stephanie also creates voter education and issue advocacy campaigns for companies that promote employee civic and volunteer engagement. She has designed strategies for the American Cancer Society, National Football League, NASCAR, and the African National Congress. Stephanie is a veteran of eight presidential campaigns. She was the 2008 Florida Political Director for Obama and a Florida Voter Protection Advisor for Clinton in 2016. Stephanie began her career as a computer scientist and systems engineer with IBM and Xerox.

Ashley Sica is the publisher and co-owner of Green Bench Monthly - St. Pete's community magazine. She majored in Marketing at the University of South Florida, and during that time started working for a group of community magazines in West Central Florida. It was then she discovered her passion for storytelling and independent news. Her dream of launching her own publication became reality when she and her husband Tony moved across the bay to St. Petersburg in 2015, where they purchased and continue to renovate a 90-year old home in the Magnolia Heights Neighborhood. Ashley serves as President of the Magnolia Heights Neighborhood Association and as a board member of the Downtown Business Association as she and Tony work for the betterment of the community.

Khris Johnson, a Memphis, TN native, is the Head Brewer/Co-Owner of Green Bench Brewing in downtown St. Petersburg, FL. Khris moved to St. Pete when he was 10 years old, attended Pinellas Park High School as a member of the Criminal Justice magnet program, enrolled and graduated from USF St. Petersburg, and has been an active member of the Tampa Bay beer scene for years. He worked at Cigar City Brewing and Southern Brewing and Winemaking before developing and pursuing opportunities to open and run his own brewery, while also being a founding faculty member of USF St. Petersburg's Brewing Arts Program. Since Green Bench has opened, Khris' recipe development, process integration, and brand visions have set the groundwork for the brewery's worldwide notoriety and sustained growth.

Hillary Van Dyke graduated with a bachelor's degree in English Education from Purdue University. From 2008 to 2012, she worked as a Language Arts teacher in Indiana. In the fall of 2012, she landed in Pinellas County Schools where she continued teaching Language Arts. During this time, she completed a master's degree in Educational Leadership from the University of South Florida- Saint Petersburg which to inspired her to take on roles outside of the classroom. After a year as a staff developer, she moved to her current role as the Senior Professional Development Coordinator for Equity for Pinellas County Schools where she works to bring conversations of racism and bias to the forefront of the district's change initiatives.

Dr. Bilan Joseph is a wife, a mother, an educator, a blogger, and an activist. She works within her community to create spaces where people from different races and cultural experiences can sit and talk to understand one another. Dr. Joseph is also The Education Enthusiast, empowering parents to advocate for their child's academic success.

Christopher Steinocher is President and CEO of the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce. He joined the Chamber in February of 2011 and is responsible for the vision, strategic direction and overall operations of the Chamber. Prior to the Chamber, Mr. Steinocher was with the Tampa Bay Partnership as COO and Senior Vice President of Marketing and Business Development, a job he held for 17 years, helping start the regional economic development group. Mr. Steinocher was also the AVP of Marketing for Fortune Bank, a Tampa Bay based bank with 46 branch locations throughout He has over 33 years of experience in marketing and community development, 31 of which have been in the St. Petersburg region. He holds a Bachelor's degree from Emory University.

Eula Mae Mitchell Perry was born and raised in St. Petersburg Florida and graduated from Gibbs High School in 1965. Eula spent her life dedicated to raising her sons and to being an avid supporter of the St. Petersburg community. She became involved with The Florida Holocaust Museum and became a docent for the "Beaches, Benches, and Boycotts" exhibition which illuminate's the region's struggle for racial equality. She became a docent because she wanted to "tell about her experiences, to honor her father [who served in WWII], and to shed light on a community that made much out of little."

About The Florida Holocaust Museum

One of the largest Holocaust museums in the country, and one of three nationally accredited Holocaust museums, The Florida Holocaust Museum honors the memory of millions of men, women and children who suffered or died in the Holocaust. The FHM is dedicated to teaching members of all races and cultures the inherent worth and dignity of human life in order to prevent future genocides. For additional information, please visit


Photos and credits

Stephanie Owens

Ashley Sica

Khris Johnson

Hillary Van Dyke

Dr. Bilan Joseph

Christopher Steinocher

Eula May Mitchell Perry

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