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February is Black History Month

unnamed (16)For many of us, the celebration of Black History Month doesn’t officially begin until Sunday. However, I have been able to get a bit of a head start by attending two recent events honoring prominent African Americans.
The first was the 24th Annual Arthur “Pappy” Kennedy Prayer Breakfast held in honor of Arthur “Pappy” Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I was touched by the words of the keynote speaker, U.S. Senate Chaplin Barry C. Black, who urged all gathered to celebrate Dr. King’s legacy by working to make the world a better place, especially for those who are less fortunate.
Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of participating in a ceremony commemorating Bessie Coleman, the first licensed African-American pilot. Coleman, like Dr. King, used her position of prominence to work for a better world. She is a true role model.

Black History Month Events
Here are just a few of the many Orange County Black History Month events:
Zora! Festival 2015
January 24 – February 1, 2015
Black History Month Art Exhibit – Orange County Administration Center
February 1 – 28, 2015
Black History Celebration Lunch on the Lawn – Orange County Administration Center, Front Lawn
February 10, 2015 – 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
A Vote: A Voice
Written by Florida Senator Geraldine F. Thompson, A Vote: A Voice commemorates the 50th Anniversary of the 1963 Voting Rights Act.
February 22, 2015 at 3:00 and 7:00 p.m. at the Dr. Phillips Performing Arts Center
Apply for a Passport at the Clerk’s Office
Did you know that the Clerk’s Office is an official acceptance center for passport applications? In fact, we processed nearly 26,000 passports last year at our five locations. With vacation season fast-approaching, it may be time to get your first passport or renew an existing one that may have expired.
Remember, all those traveling outside of the United States need a passport to re-enter the country. If you are planning on limited travel, perhaps to Canada or the Caribbean, a passport card may be an option for you. You can apply for a passport in Room 355 of the courthouse or visit any of our four branch locations. For more information and a list of items to bring with you, visit the Passport section of
January Star Performer
Each month, we select a deputy clerk who has been nominated by his or her peers for outstanding performance. January’s Star Performer is Kim Montgomery, from our Criminal Division.
Kim was nominated for “taking the initiative on numerous occasions over the past year to work with our Information Systems & Technology team to help identify challenges with the electronic transmission of some records.”
For her part, Kim loves the challenge of working in Criminal. “There is always something new that I as well as my team have to tackle and come together to resolve,’’ she said.
February Star Performer
Our February Star Performer plays a key role assisting attorneys who come to our Civil Division for assistance.
Naline Bahadur was nominated by her co-workers because “her knowledge of the documents needed for filing and the information she provides is one to be respected. She is always pleasant and willing to go above and beyond her role in assisting anyone who needs help. The relationship she shares with the attorneys is one that all clerks should strive to have. With every attorney assisted, you can see that they know that they are dealing with a clerk who understands the importance of their cases and filings.”
Clerk Work Days
When I became Clerk, one of the first things I said I would do is spend a day in each of our divisions learning about process and work flow. I am a firm believer in learning by doing. So far, I have completed two Clerk Work Days, one in our Traffic Division and one in Civil, and I am happy to report that I have not been “fired” yet. Each deputy clerk who has trained me has demonstrated knowledge and expertise of his or her area and I have come away from each encounter ever more impressed with our staff
I wish I could take credit for the idea, but I was inspired by Gov. Bob Graham and his many days spent working the same jobs as his constituents. After only a few full days working side-by-side our deputy clerks, I have a much broader understanding of the breadth of the work our office does on a daily basis and a richer appreciation for how important that work is for so many in Orange County.
Look for future about updates as I continue with more Clerk Work Days.