Welcome to the George Edgecomb Bar Association
“Pressing Forward Together During Challenging Times”
It is with the utmost honor that I begin my term as the President of the George Edgecomb Bar Association (“GEBA”) for the 2020-2021 bar year. Having served as Treasurer under the presidencies of Representative Fentrice Driskell and Theresa Jean-Pierre Coy, and recently as First Vice-President under Immediate Past President Valeria Obi, I truly understand and appreciate GEBA’s rich history and the leadership it takes to run this great organization. Thank you each for entrusting me to serve alongside you and for the dedication and hard work that you each brought to GEBA.
GEBA will always hold a special place in my heart. My first exposure to GEBA was neither in law school nor as a young attorney, but rather as a high school senior. In 1995, GEBA awarded me a college scholarship. Coming from a low-income household and being the first in my family to attend college, this scholarship not only helped me achieve my goal of going off to college, but also was a springboard to my legal pursuits. That said, I will forever be grateful to this organization for giving me an opportunity to better myself.
GEBA is the Tampa Bay area’s largest predominantly African-American voluntary bar association. For over thirty-five years, GEBA has tirelessly committed itself to promoting and recognizing the contributions of African-Americans within the legal profession and judiciary; upholding the honor and integrity of the legal profession; improving the administration of justice; disseminating legal knowledge to all members of the community, and to African-Americans in particular; and improving the relationships among all members of the Bar, Judiciary and the public. This purpose is the foundation upon which GEBA was created.
Needless to say, recent events have forced us to deal with a worldwide pandemic as well as the systematic racism that has plagued American society for far too long. As a result, our lives as we know it have changed dramatically and now, we are forced to adapt. To say that we are living in challenging times would be an understatement. Every aspect of our world has been affected, even our beloved legal profession.
Our theme for this upcoming bar year, “Pressing Forward Together During Challenging Times,” is GEBA’s rallying cry to continue to “fight the good fight” in spite of what is happening in our profession. I strongly believe we can accomplish this by: (1) reconnecting with our community by providing frequent and greater access to legal information regarding criminal justice reform, civil rights, and other areas of the law that are critical to the protection and improvement of the lives of black people; (2) finding innovative ways to connect our past with our present by honoring our past presidents and founding members via our website, social media, and other platforms; (3) bringing inactive members “back into the fold”; (4) recruiting new members, in particular government attorneys, to get involved; (5) building stronger relationships with Stetson and Cooley BLSA and younger attorneys; and (6) reinventing how GEBA conducts its business and signature events.
All the aforementioned can be accomplished if we continue to move forward and work together. Mary McLeod Bethune once said, “The progress of the world will call for the best that all of us have to give.” Let’s give our best, and let’s get to work!
Travis J. Coy, Esq.
Travis. J. Coy, Esq.
The George Edgecomb Bar Association