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SWAT > News and Events > Phoenix Tour > Bradford County Telegraph

Project Phoenix Stops in Bradford

By Rose Rezaei
Telegraph Staff Writer

June 17, 2004


Suwannee County SWAT (Students Working Against Tobacco) stopped in Starke on Thursday June 10 as part of their Project Phoenix Tour

Project Phoenix is comprised of a group of SWAT teens from Suwannee County conducting anti-tobacco advocacy across 17 counties in North Florida. Their intent for this tour was to wake up the citizens of Florida to the manipulative tactics of Big Tobacco.

"We've had the idea for the tour for a few years now but the tour became a reality when the group received funding through the Lawton Chiles Foundation to conduct an advocacy event." said Steven Schneitman, Suwannee County SWAT coordinator. The tour began on June 5 at Panama City Beach. When Project Phoenix rolled into Starke on Thursday they meet up with Bradford SWAT member Mitchell Anderson. Together they conducted street marketing, a form of grassroots communication, by holding up a sign along 301 that said "Tobacco causes one-sixth of all Bradford County deaths."

One of the goals of the trip was to reach as many people with the anti-tobacco industry message as possible. "Someone was counting the number of cars that passed and they counted that about 2,000 cars were reached with our message" said Anderson. During the duration of the tour, Project Phoenix created a documentary which was filmed by Brian Cody. The documentary followed Project Phoenix at each stop collecting coverage of SWAT teens conducting hands on advocacy.

"We created the documentary to show how to be an advocate." said Schneitman. The documentary will be sent out as a training guide for SWAT groups to use around the state. Along with creating the documentary, Project Phoenix was asking SWAT members at each stop what their county was up to and what were some of the advocacy events that their county did in the past.

After Project Phoenix left Starke their next stop was Palatka then finally to Daytona Beach on June 12, the last day of the tour. When asked his overall opinion of Project Phoenix Schneitman said, "We set out to reach as many people as we could and gain some experience, I feel we accomplished more than we expected and all reestablished our zeal to fight the tobacco industry."

©Bradford County Telegraph 2004