Published Nov. 10
ST. PETERSBURG — It started as a two-person effort at a St. Petersburg diner in the early 2000s.
Grassroots organizer Theresa “Momma Tee” Lassiter saw a need for legal services in her community. So she recruited the help of attorney and then-city council member Bill Foster.
Once a month, the two would snag a table at Shirley’s Soul Food at the intersection of 18th Avenue S and 34th Street. Lassiter would bring in people from the neighborhood seeking legal advice. Foster would offer his expertise. The only requirement was that those seeking guidance bought a meal from Shirley’s.
Lassiter, a zealous activist who frequently advocated for her community at city council meetings, died in 2018. But the St. Petersburg NAACP and a handful of other organizations are honoring her memory by hosting the 15th Annual Community Lawfest & Resource Fair this Saturday.
“It has always been a goal to bring it back because it helped so many people,” said community organizer Jabaar Edmond.
Roughly 30 lawyers are scheduled to attend, he said.
Attorneys will be available to help people apply to have their criminal records expunged or sealed. Those who have served prison time will be able to speak with experts who can help them apply to get their rights restored, such as the right to serve on a jury and the right to vote, if not already restored under Amendment 4.
Additionally, lawyers will also be available onsite to help people with family law matters, such as divorce papers and probate law, which includes things like wills and deeds for homes.
The event will run