is a diversity campaign in honor of the 49 victims of the Orlando shooting this past June. 49 is a series of authentic, candid portraits and stories of individuals in Santa Rosa and Escambia Counties in Northwest Florida, compiled to celebrate the full spectrum of local diversity. This campaign works to increase the awareness of prejudice and aims to educate us about strength in the diversity and the connectedness that stems from it.  Stories shared will include local individuals with a varied compilation of race, sexuality, disability, religion, ethnicity, social economic standing, interests and other attributes. Our diverse community brings to the table a rich array of life experiences and viewpoints that lead to a healthier quality of living.




“I am working towards my private pilot’s license. When I’m in the air, it’s the only time I can get out of my chair and be free. People say that handicapped people can’t do anything, but I am living proof that handicapped people can do anything they put their mind to.”

— Micah Hohney, a PALS (Program for Adult Learning and Support) student at The Arc Gateway, Inc. 

“My husband and I are both retired. He was an engineer and later managed my law firm in New Orleans. We have been together for 25 years. We are pictured here with our five grandchildren from my previous marriage. Our job now is helping to make happy childhood memories for them.”

— Larry Best & Kory Chatelain



“My yoga mat is a safe place. A place where I can give my body respect, my mind peace, and my soul nourishment. A place where Life’s everyday problems aren’t hidden - they’re faced with integrity. This is why I teach the practice of yoga and share it with our community.”

He is our JOY. Even when we ask him to take a picture of just the two of us, he manages to photobomb. We are happiest when we are together. We married as an older couple and had Cooper at an advanced maternal age. He is our everything.”



“Growing up in Alabama, I had no idea what it meant to be a minority. But when we moved to Hawaii, I learned what if felt like to be different. Those experiences taught me the important of treating all people with respect and have guided my life ever since.”

— Susan Senkarik, Pensacola, Fla.


“I met the love of my life when I was 15 and we’ve been together ever since. I manage a retail store and my husband works in construction. After losing my mom, I became determined and stood strong to become a college graduate.”

— Tabatha Nixon


“I’m a student at the University of West Florida. I enjoy exploring the many ways in which I can make fellow humans happy and filling my life with joy. In the past, my Asperger’s Syndrome has been a social barrier, but with the support of many open-minded people, I have overcome many challenges”



“As a ceramic artist I love making artwork that references the diversity of historical pottery and art. As a pottery teacher, I love sharing what I’ve learned from the mentors I’ve been so lucky to have. It’s important to me to be aware of history and my place in it." 

—Jonathan Kusnerek


“As a therapist I have a unique insight into both the diversity and the universality of human struggle. Being pregnant in this brings a host of vulnerability and emotion. I’m grateful that my work allows me to contribute kindness in small ways.” 

— Colleen Brown

“I have always been a creative person and have recently been channeling some of that energy into highlighting and celebrating the diversity of art, culture, food, history and people of the Bay Area through social media. This area has given me a lot and in my small way I hope to give back.”

—James Moore, Milton, Fla. 



“16 years ago, we met and fell in love. Through unexpected challenges, we raised two college graduates. In 2014, Pam and I were finally married. Four years ago, we started Safe Port Counseling Center as a way to give back, provide mental health services to the LGBTQ community in Northwest Florida.”

—Debra DuBose, Pensacola 

"We met on a scuba diving vacation in early 2009 and became engaged in 2010 on another scuba vacation. We got married on Pensacola Beach in 2011. We are still sharing love, laughter and adventure — both above and below sea level!"

—Laura Ericson and Stephanie Karous, Pensacola Beach



"From school psychologist to accounting in the mountains, to kayak fishing at the beach and zumba instructing, to learning pottery and singing soprano in the choral society; for me life is all about diversity. What a joy to wonder what adventure is next!"

"I’m a Pensacolian and certified HIV counselor. Stigma, paranoia, and racism have molded me. With my faith, I’ve been able to share my insight and strength with so many others."



"I'm a proud Latina trans woman. I lost my family and was homeless after I came out — but I refused to let it hold me down. Now, I'm a musician and a YouTube personality. I have a new loving family and continue to believe life is amazing!"

—Delia Melody., Pensacola 

"Young, old, man, woman, gay, straight, people of color and diverse ethnic and social backgrounds…the Manna Pantry garden volunteers connect the dots with a common thread: service to the community."

—Kathy Decker, Tracy Wise, Cherri Baker, and Trudy King (not pictured)



"As a rabbi, community leader, and most importantly as a father, I strive to celebrate and honor diversity. Tikkun Olam – the healing and repair of our world -- begins with the recognition that each and every individual is a reflection of the divine."

— Joel Fleekop, Pensacola

"This is my friend Babu who generously volunteers each week with me at the Loaves & Fishes Soup Kitchen. We both come from different backgrounds — he is Muslim and I am Christian — and for three years we have worked together."

— Rev. Booth Iburg, Pensacola



"I'm Creative Director of Emerald Coast Pixie Productions, an events planning company that empowers women to empower themselves. I'm also Founder of the DREAM Project, which brings awareness to mental health through music. I was born American but my nationality is Filipino and I'm proud of both.”

—Raela Marie Villanueva, Pensacola Beach

"We met in 2006 and just six months later, I moved 2,600 miles to be with her. We were married in 2012. Today, we have four kids — my boys & her girls. We've been through struggle & illness but the love we share helped us make it through it all."

— Renee and Amy Haden-Knost



"Diversity is a yeast with spice. Without diversity our food, recreation, education — our very lives, are bland and flat. To experience a full, balanced, and informed life is to welcome and embrace all those who love, speak, eat, pray or meditate in ways that differ from our own."

—Mark J. Hainds. 

"Seminary to Air Force to a career working for one of the most forgotten segments of our society — the aged. “Gen Silent” indeed; in more ways than one. It can be scary, especially for those who become “elder orphans.” Remember they paved the way; lend them a helping hand."

—John Clark, President/CEO, Council on Aging of West Florida



“Diversity unites us, braiding differences down the back of goodwill and benevolence.

Diversity weaves us, interlacing threads luminous as the sheen from a spool of silk.

Diversity combines us, in rich mosaic,  A tesserae of mixed color and form.

Diversity invites us, to share who we are on this walk of Peace, unafraid, full of Love”

—Kimi Kirschenfield, Gulf Breeze

"I'm about as diverse as they come: I was raised in a military family, I’m Muslim, married to an Egyptian, and nothing tops my passion advocating for the LGBT and homeless community. I'm a big believer in random acts of kindness — nothing beats brightening someone's day. Well behaved women seldom make history."

— Megan ElBaioumy, Pensacola



"We are the Smiths. We both have Parkinson’s disease. We both don’t look like your “typical” disabled person. We both have had Parkinson’s Disease for over 10 years now. We miss our careers. Being disabled does not mean the end of life; it means a new way of life has begun."

Randy and Mary Smith, East Hill, Pensacola

"As a young man, I was confounded with the decision to be diverse and exit my family's close minded culture. The LGBT community made it for me. Exiting that world and embracing another has brought me diversity in friendship — but more so — a compounding state of happiness and love."

— AJ Vega, Pensacola