By Roger Caldwell
As Americans struggle in 2023, with the reality that Democracy is being challenged everyday by insurrectionist, who is prepared to fight?
On January 6, 2023, community leaders in 70 cities held events planned nationwide to highlight the ongoing threats to our freedoms and our vote. Bipartisan investigations by the U.S. House January 6 Select Committee have demonstrated that former President Donald Trump and his allies engaged in criminal conspiracy.
This group of insurrectionist made false claims incited a violent attack on the Capitol in order to overturn the 2020 election, and stop the peaceful transfer of power. Some of the same individuals are working to sabotage our elections starting with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.
All around the country legislators are making it harder to vote, by changing state laws, and eliminating voting polls. Many voters are intimidated by White supremacy organizations at polling locations with guns and rifles. They are continuing to undermine our freedoms and our Democracy, and it is time for voting education and engagement.
This event was held in Orlando, at the Lake Lona Doone Park organized by local community leaders. Some of the local community leaders who were given an opportunity to speak were: Anna Eskamani-State Rep. for Florida, Shaniqua “Shan” Rose-from the Orange County Black Caucus, Deborah Ellick, Mr. and Mrs. Glaster-combat service in the Marine, Sophia Glover-from Florida Rising and Mrs. Laqwonna Glaster-cousin of Martin Luther King.
One of the community organizers, Rosalyn Clarke said, “The reason I wanted to gather my community around the January 6 anniversary, because I personally feel that the anti-government groups are organizing around the country, and taking our freedoms to vote away from us. Here in Florida a million Floridians were voted to restore their rights to vote, who had served their time were denied the right to vote,” explained Ms. Clarke.
Under Governor Ron DeSantis’s administration, he has created the Office of Election Crimes in the 2020 election. This was started in July of 2020, and many Blacks and people of color are intimidated by this election police and are discouraging minorities and Black folks to vote.
This was approved by the Florida Legislature which is Republicans, and the majority party. The potential penalty for anyone breaking the law is up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. There were stories circulating in the Black community that some were arrested due to a surcharge that was due. There has been very little information considering the election police, but certain Floridians are being arrested.
The challenge for Democrats in the Florida Legislature is to help start an investigation with the Office of Election Crimes, and present the truth. Floridians who support “Our Freedom, Our Vote,” must remember that more than 150 organizations – ranging from legal, national security, grassroots leaders, and more are fighting for the rule of law.
In Orlando, Orange County, and other local counties, this is only the beginning, because voter education and mobilization will take place throughout the entire year. Collaborations, partnerships, and working together will get more Democratic Floridians registered.
To Black Floridians in the state, there must be a new found commitment to voting, and Black votes matter. Voting is our power and our vote is our voice. Each time a Black person votes, they should hear our ancestors singing songs of freedom.