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Tampa’s internal cemetery task force raises transparency concerns

The internal task force worked on city policy, but kept meetings among city staffers and invited guests. Experts say this violates the spirit of the Sunshine Law.

Emerald Morrow

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Published: 7:15 PM EDT May 18, 2022
Updated: 8:06 PM EDT May 20, 2022

Hundreds of graves from destroyed Black cemeteries in Tampa lie disturbed under public housing apartments, private homes, a towing lot, a church lot and vacant business property.

Since archaeologists began making the discoveries in 2019, community leaders and lawmakers have called for action.

Both the city and the state formed task forces to address concerns.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill that formed a task force to search for erased cemeteries and develop strategies for preservation, restoration and protection of these sacred places across Florida.

The group included lawmakers, archaeologists, historians and community leaders. Meetings were broadcast on The Florida Channel for anyone to watch.

Finding out what the city of Tampa’s task force discusses has required more work.

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