The following Letter to the Editor was published in The Daily Sun on Sept 2, 2023.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis was booed recently while attending a vigil for the three Black people gunned down by a white man at a Jacksonville store.
The governor’s presence at this solemn gathering was clearly aimed at promoting his presidential ambitions and demonstrated an astounding arrogance to expect Florida Black voters to embrace his presence.
The governor’s record on race issues merits, at the very least, booing.
Despite declaring that the 2020 election was free and fair, DeSantis passed laws making it more difficult to vote, especially for people of color; the administration introduced school curricula purporting that blacks benefited from slavery; on several occasions, the governor has refused to denounce white supremacist protestors; the administration’s special “voter integrity” cops arrested several former convicts, all Black, who voted as they were authorized to do so by their supervisor of elections; DeSantis claims Florida is the state where “woke comes to die,” a clear cry for denying the historical roots of racial injustice.
For the governor to show up at a vigil for hate-related killings and expect those attending to welcome him reflects how out of touch he is with the pulse of most Americans.
Florida Democrat, state Rep. Angie Nixon, said it best: “At the end of the day, the governor has blood on his hands.”
Kathleen Davey, Punta Gorda
Image Credits: Malcolm Jackson for the NY Times