Nikolai Vitti: ‘Expand the HRO’


Duval County School Superintendent Nikolai Vitti serves in an appointed role, yet on Tuesday, he offered epistolary advice to the Jacksonville City Council.

That counsel? Expand the city’s Human Rights Ordinance to protect people at work, in the housing market, and in the realm of public accommodations on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Vitti called the vote, which will be held Tuesday evening at City Hall, an “opportunity to play an important part in this city’s movement toward equal rights.”

“Our city has not moved forward as quickly as it should have because historically its leaders have shirked from critical issues and decisions,” Vitti wrote.

“Please do not place yourself in a position to explain to your children or grandchildren why you voted against equal rights,” Vitti added.

A No vote, Vitti added, “signals that the city, through the City Council, is rejecting the LGBTQ+ community.”

Vitti’s position is not a surprise.

The Duval County School District has protections similar to those offered in the HRO to students and teachers.

And some of Vitti’s biggest backers are the Jacksonville Civic Council and other community stakeholder types, many of whom have been the staunchest supporters of HRO expansion.

As well, it’s uncertain how much political cover Vitti’s position offers a council member worried about a re-election campaign in 2019, given that a school superintendent doesn’t last indefinitely in Duval County.

However, HRO expansion supporters will likely note that, as opposed to some politicians whose position on the issue is opaque, Vitti at least took a stand.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


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