Taylor is now fulltime president/CEO of Urban League
By St. Clair Murraine
Outlook staff writer
Calling his appointment as president/CEO of the Tallahassee Urban League “the opportunity of a lifetime,” Curtis Taylor said he will intensify the organization’s effort on fighting crime.
Bringing back the Urban League’s jobs program will be a good start, he said.
“We’ve got to bring about jobs in our community,” Taylor said. “That’s very critical to help turnaround the crime in our community.”
The announcement that Taylor is the Urban League’s next president/CEO was made at a press conference last Wednesday. Taylor spent the last 20 months in the same positions on an interim basis since the retirement of Rev. Ernest Ferrell in 2018.
“Everything that we can bring to the table to make a difference, we will do that,” Taylor said.
Part of the organization’s crime-fighting plan is to keep criminal activities off the streets of Frenchtown, where his office is located, Taylor said. He added that he expects several town hall meetings and tour of the area by city officials to result in a plan of action by next spring.
Taylor said he would like to have more community involvement in reporting crime but some people in the neighborhood are afraid to do so.
“We’ve got a fear factor going round here,” Taylor said. “We’ve got to change that mindset. We all have got to get into the game.”
Sheriff Walt McNeil, who attended the press conference, said he and new chief of Tallahassee Police Department, Lawrence Revell, are in discussions about ways to reduce crime in Frenchtown. Removing the interim from Taylor’s title will reenergize the effort, he said.
“We understand working with the city and the county that there are a number of initiatives that the city has and the country has been talking about creating jobs waiting for persons coming out of our detention facility,” McNeil said. “So we believe everybody working together; having a common goal and a common cause is going to reap great benefits in our community.
“I’m excited about the leadership and how we go forward.”
Taylor was presented by Jerome Jones, chairman of the Urban League’s board of directors. Taylor was certified by the organization’s national body and that was followed by the local board making a unanimous decision at its Feb. 11 meeting to keep on Taylor.
Taylor is a good fit for the job because he’s spent the last 41 years working in several positions for the Urban League, Jones said. However, he seemed to be challenging Taylor during his remarks.
“While the league has had many successes over the years,” he said, “let there be no doubt that there is much, much work to be done in our communities in the years to come.”
Apart from crime, development around Frenchtown is another of Taylor’s main concern. He worries about recent housing construction in the area and wonders if Brevard Street will become similar to Gaines Street. That area has undergone major development with commercial businesses and housing.
Taylor’s supporters at the press conference included his former FAMU football coach, Rudy Hubbard. He recalled signing a reference letter for Taylor to get his first job with the Urban League 41 years ago.
Hubbard said Taylor has consistently shown leadership and a get-it-done attitude that qualifies him for the job.
“I always use to say if I had a fight and I had to get down in a fox hole, Curtis would be the guys I would like to be down there with,” Hubbard said. “He’s going to give you everything he’s got.”