For decades, community activist Jetson Grimes has been holding court amid the clippers, curling irons and hair gels at his Jetson's Unisex Salon-a bustling Newtown shop full of clients and other civic-minded folk who want the latest news or a chance to promote their newest cause. He gets so many phone calls about community issues that he sometimes wears a headset as he cuts hair.
Born and raised in Sarasota, Grimes was a '60s activist, protesting segregation at Sarasota's beaches, movie theaters and bus station. Today the dignified Grimes is known as a wise and fair-minded leader who tirelessly works for understanding, equality and economic development in Newtown and the entire city of Sarasota. Grimes pushed to make the corridor around Martin Luther King Drive a state-designated Enterprise Zone and is always campaigning to reduce crime, educate kids and bring investment into his community.
"When I think about race," he says, "I think about economics. The key to African-American parity is economic independence, access to capital. That's where the fight is now."