Governor Scott out of touch with African American issues in Florida
By Roger Caldwell
In Florida there are the traditional Black organizations, a large number of Black university presidents/professors, and more African Americans in politics and positions of authority than ever before. There are also many Black CEO’s of major corporations, over thirty Black newspapers and publications, and working and retired millionaires living all over the state. But with all this success in our community, there is no organized Black political power in the state.
For 31 days the Dream Defenders held a sit-in protesting the stand your ground law and Florida’s judicial system. This is the third time since I have been living in Florida that the African American political leadership has protested a position taken by the status quo with a demonstration. The African American community is basically quiet with no agenda and Governor Scott is not challenged to discuss any Black issues.
State Senator Dwight Bullard is starting to breathe new life into the African American Florida Community by launching a series of town hall meetings to allow residents to address their frustrations, and disappointment, with our governor and legislators. The Trayvon Martin case was a total disregard for Black life in Florida, and the Black community is angry with Florida’s judicial system, but we remain basically quiet.
There have been certain political leaders such as Congresswoman Corrine Brown who have been fighting for justice, but there has not been a coordinated organized effort from the churches and grassroots to expose the unfair laws that exist in the state. Senator Dwight Bullard is calling on US Attorney General Holder to investigate unfair mandatory minimum sentencing as it relates to African Americans’ in the state. State Senator Bullard is asking Governor Scott to commute the unfair sentencing of Michael Giles, a former U.S. airman.
Michael Giles a Black man, three years ago was attacked outside a club in Tallahassee and shot his attacker in the leg with his legally registered weapon. His attacker was not seriously injured. He tried to use as his defense stand your ground law, but even though he was attacked first, he was sentenced the mandatory minimum of 25 years.
In May 2012, Marissa Alexander a 33-year-old mother shot a gun into a wall to ward off an abusive husband, and received 20 years in prison. She used the stand your ground law as her defense, lost in the lower court, but won a new case in the court of appeals. There appears to be a total disregard for justice when the law is applied to the African American race.
In Sanford Florida there is an investigation where Traymon Williams is charging the police department of racial profiling, when three or four cars stopped him and his passengers and forced them to the ground with loaded weapons. In Sopchoppy Florida, Blacks are suing the city clerk for suppressing the vote.
There is a fundamental and systematic problem of racism in Florida and our legal system and governor are not doing their job. Rev. Jesse Jackson is calling Florida “an apartheid state”, and our governor has no idea why 98 percent of Blacks agree with that assessment. Governor Scott does not realize that Blacks are being treated unfairly, and it is time for Blacks to collaborate with Hispanics and other progressive groups and demand justice in Florida. Support Senator Bullard and challenge the unfair practices and laws signed by Governor Scott.