Republicans Stir Up Hornet’s Nest in Florida on Black Attacks

-Concerted National Plan Needed

By Staff Reporter, Westside Gazette

     Several hundred diversified Blacks, whites and people of color marched and rallied in Tallahassee, Florida’s capitol.

Coordinated by Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network, a group of Black activist, ministers, several hundred young and old descended on the state capitol, on a sunny weekday to say they will not go back to America’s racist past.

The actions were the latest response to Republican Party attacks on Black education in Florida and the United States. “Wokeness” is the new “N” word for Republicans DeSantis, former South Carolina Governor  Niki Haley, former Vice President Mike Pence and former President Donald Trump. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis leads the attack in Florida and in places he campaigns across the country.

   The controversy has many moving parts best summed up by Bishop Rudolph McKissick Jr., pastor of Jacksonville’s Bethel Baptist Church, the oldest Black Baptist church in Florida.Speaking of DeSantis McKissick said “if this governor had his way this would not be happening today, not simply because of what we are marching for, but when I look at this audience it is an audience of diversity and inclusion. In Ron DeSantis’ world we would not be able to gather because of the differences that are here…Different does not mean deficient…The lying talking points of your Republican Party will not stand. We are not saying you don’t want Black history,;we are saying we won’t let you have it your way. We will not let you tell our story from your perspective. We will not let you redact our history so your children are comfortable. Your children can and other generations can be comfortable now because our ancestors were uncomfortable then.”

   DeSantis has led the Florida legislature to ban 175 books that tell the story of Black icons like Rosa Parks, Hank Aaron, Martin Luther King. Public school teachers cannot teach history in a manner that white children would feel the guilt of their ancestors. Books that supplement all subjects in public schools must be approved and if not approved teachers must take them out of the classroom or cover them.

The protest march, under the watchful eye of police dogs, retina surveillance cameras, and cell phone monitors, itself might have been illegal under Florida’s new laws that restrict protests. DeSantis’ most recent attacks on Black education are on the College Board’s AP Black History course, a national elective available to honor students. The Board caved in to DeSantis’ attacks on “Black Queer history”, connections on race and class,  Black reparations, Black feminism, and the Black Lives Matter Movement.  The Board has said it will remove those sections DeSantis objects and place them in an addendum. Also removed were significant writers Kimberle Crenshaw and Gloria Jean Watkins, better known by her pen name bell hooks. Now DeSantis is considering defunding the College Board and its test in Florida, a move that potentially will make Florida students less competitive with students nationally and Florida less attractive to potential faculty.

    An 85 year old paratrooper, Colonel Wilson Barnes  served in three Vietnam campaigns, assignments in Centcom, and the Pentagon marched.  The decorated soldier said, “the NAACP and Urban League and other groups must become more active, and youth must be educated. We must walk our communities, register voters and get the Democrat Party more active.”

MSNBC anchor Joy Reid was present and interviewed students and community leaders for the Reid Out. Reid said Florida has suffered many attacks from DeSantis and the Republicans and she hoped that the march would be a beginning of a Black and progressive response. “This governor is a bully and the only way you can deal with a bully is to fight back”, Joy Reid said.

   The days of  being misused as a “whipping boy” by a party that lost the last two national elections in 2020 and 2022 mainly on attacks on women’s reproductive rights is over.

     The March and rally had all the building blocks for a national movement except convening leaders of the different groups locally and nationally and a finance strategy.  There was no evidence that funding has been developed to make the response to the Republican/DeSantis anti-wokeness a movement.

About Carma Henry 21575 Articles
Carma Lynn Henry Westside Gazette Newspaper 545 N.W. 7th Terrace, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33311 Office: (954) 525-1489 Fax: (954) 525-1861

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