Press Release Liberty Bell Award 2



ST. PETERSBURG – The Pinellas County Urban League’s President & Chief Executive Officer. Rev. Watson L. Haynes, II was honoured by the St. Petersburg Bar Association & St. Petersburg Bar Foundation with its “LIBERTY BELL AWARD” at a Luncheon on Friday, May 4th, 2018 at the Mirror Lake Lyceum.  The Award recognizes a person in the community who contributes to a greater understanding of the legal system and improves the American system of justice. 

The Liberty Bell Award was formally endorsed by the American Bar Association in 1964 for use by bar associations nationally to acknowledge those who perform outstanding community services.  The Award is presented to a non-lawyer who promotes a better understanding to the rule of law, encourages greater respect for the for the law and the courts, contributes to good government in the community, and inspires a sense of civic responsibility.  Rev. Haynes was acknowledged for possessing all the attributes essential for the award. 

Rev. Haynes is a St. Petersburg hero whose deep roots stretch throughout the community, state and nation. He is a popular public speaker, consultant, advocate for education, and has served at the helm of the Pinellas County Urban League in the role of President & CEO since 2012. Rev. Haynes has more than three decades of leadership that includes several gubernatorial appointments and senior leadership positions, including an Education and Community Outreach Coordinator for St. Petersburg College, President & CEO of the Coalition for a Safe & Drug Free St. Petersburg; Executive Director of Bridges to America, a family and substance abuse treatment center; and Executive Vice President at Operation PAR in St. Petersburg.

A huge contingent of supporters, including family members, Urban League employees, friends and associates attended the event to pay homage to Rev. Haynes.  During his humbling and emotional remarks, Rev. Haynes said he is honoured to receive the award as he had served on the Selection Committee and knows firsthand the stringent criteria required for the selection of the recipient of the prestigious award. 

He stated that he recently attended the funeral services for Atty. Joseph Lang, a dear friend who walked the school halls with him to stop fights and participate in peaceful sit-ins during the height of the civil rights era. Atty. Lang was instrumental in establishing the highest standards of integrity, and assisting those in need without regard to remuneration. He was very active in the community particularly in civil rights causes and community integration efforts in the 1970s. He helped to promote an inclusive St. Petersburg lay the foundations for constructive and respectful discourse in our community. Mr. Haynes stated that he takes great pride in accepting the Liberty Bell Award on behalf of his dear friend, Atty. Joe Lang.  

Rev. Haynes pledged his commitment to continue working to fulfil the abide by the high benchmarks of the Liberty Bell Award.  He said that he feels privileged to join list of past innovative leaders receiving the award. Mr. Haynes received a standing ovation in recognition of his efforts and contributions in the community.