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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis faces Black leaders' anger after racist killings in Jacksonville
Florida Gov Ron DeSantis faces Black leaders anger after racist killings in Jacksonville The San Diego Union Tribune

Florida’s Black Community Outraged: DeSantis Faces Heat After Jacksonville’s Racially-Motivated Shooting

The Jacksonville Tragedy: A Catalyst for Outrage

The Black community in Florida is fuming, and Governor Ron DeSantis is feeling the heat. A recent racially motivated shooting in Jacksonville has reignited scrutiny of DeSantis’ policies toward the Black community. The 21-year-old white male gunman killed three Black individuals at a Dollar General store. His writings revealed blatant racism, and the Justice Department is investigating the incident as a hate crime (NBC News).

DeSantis’ Policies: A Deep Dive into Controversy

DeSantis has been under fire for his focus on eradicating higher education diversity programs and scrutinizing African American history courses. His administration has even gone as far as to redraw district maps, erasing northern Florida’s only Black-performing congressional seat. This seat included Jacksonville, the very city where the recent shooting occurred. The NAACP has issued a Florida travel advisory, citing DeSantis’s “aggressive attempts to erase Black history and to restrict diversity, equity, and inclusion programs” (NBC News).

“How much can we allow the governor to keep his foot on our neck and not say anything?” – State Sen. Shevrin Jones, a Miami Democrat

DeSantis’ War on Education

  • Erasing Diversity Programs: DeSantis aims to wipe out diversity programs in higher education.
  • Questioning African American Studies: His administration has been critical of African American history courses.
  • Redistricting: The redrawing of district maps has erased the only Black-performing congressional seat in northern Florida.

The Community Reacts: Boos and Jeers

DeSantis recently faced a chorus of boos at a Jacksonville vigil for the shooting victims. The crowd’s jeering continued until a Black Democrat, Jacksonville City Councilwoman Ju’Coby Pittman, asked for silence to let the governor speak. DeSantis labeled the gunman a “scumbag,” but Jeffrey Rumlin, a Jacksonville pastor, corrected him: “He was a racist.”

Questions Raised by the Community

  1. Is DeSantis’ Presence Genuine?: Many question the sincerity of DeSantis attending the vigil, labeling it a political stunt.
  2. Is Education the Battleground?: DeSantis’ focus on education policies affecting the Black community raises concerns.
  3. What’s Next?: With the governor facing backlash, what steps will he take to mend the relationship with the Black community?

For more on the historical context of Black politics in Florida, dive into our piece on Black Politics and Anti-Black Politics.

The Bigger Picture: A Strained Relationship

The tension between DeSantis and Florida’s Black community isn’t new. It’s a culmination of years of policies that many believe target people of color. From education to redistricting, the governor’s actions have been constantly debated. The recent shooting in Jacksonville has only intensified this scrutiny, leaving many to wonder: can this relationship be mended?

“You can’t take three or four years of his actions and then show up to the Black community saying, ‘I stand with you.’ No, you don’t.” – State Sen. Shevrin Jones

For a broader perspective on the Black experience in America, explore our article on the history and impact of Black-owned businesses in America.

The Jacksonville shooting has left a community in mourning and reignited a debate about Governor DeSantis’ relationship with Florida’s Black community. As tensions rise, the question remains: Will this incident serve as a wake-up call for the governor, or will it deepen the divide?