Reflecting and looking ahead to Black History Month

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - "The more we learn about each other, the more we understand each other."

Those are the words of Sharon Sheffield, the first African-American woman to serve as Lynn Haven Mayor.

As we are about to enter Black History Month, we sat down with Sheffield to talk about the significance of the month and to reflect on her time as a leader in our community.

Sheffield reflected on a speech about diversity she gave at a Navy base years ago.

"When you look at anyone, no matter what the color of their skin is, it means that you learn somebody else and you want to know something about them and in turn, it turns back to you that that same person wants to know something about you," Sheffield said.

She recalled the message of a bishop she had in Lynn Haven who emphasized the importance of lifting others up.

"He said, 'If we all stay down, then nobody rises up.' So that means that if I get up, it's my responsibility to help somebody else up," Sheffield explained.

She said she hopes she lives her life so somebody would be inspired and want to pursue the endeavors she did.

"My thing is, I have to help somebody else to get there," she said.

By living in Lynn Haven her entire life, her goal is to help others in any way she can.

Mayor Greg Brudnicki of Panama City signed the 2018 Black History Month Proclamation earlier this week.