Walk to remember: Lenny Curry meets Black Lives Matter
Lenny Curry wants people to wear masks. But he can't make them do it.

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Can Jacksonville move forward?

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry, a former chair of the Republican Party of Florida, pledged Tuesday that “real change is coming” to the city.

Curry, on the steps of City Hall with Jacksonville Jaguar Leonard Fournette, was responding to unprecedented protests in the city ahead of a walk organized by the running back.

Protests have rocked Jacksonville for weeks, but Curry has not shown until this one.

The walk had its tense moments, with Curry standing alone for a couple of minutes on the lawn of the courthouse, being berated by a megaphone just feet away.

The Mayor, cautious for so long on social issues, demonstrated commitment to second term evolution, standing impassive as that happened, then taking questions on certain issues from reporters, but not others, like the controversial bid for the Republican National Convention, or how President Donald Trump would regard these conciliations.

For Curry, who just a few years back said that national anthem protests by NFL players were stupid, the move represents the latest dramatic policy evolution for Curry, who came around on LGBT rights legislation this year also.

The Mayor’s hard-right supporters have long since broken with him, and he clearly is embracing a new approach to governance.

Confederate monuments, long a bone of contention, have started coming down.

Curry said he “evolved” on the importance of the issue in remarks to reporters during the march to and from the Duval County Courthouse.

“I’ve heard people … I’ve evolved,” the Mayor said.

Early Tuesday, the monument in Hemming Park was removed.

“The others in the city will be removed as well,” Curry said to cheers. “We hear your voices, have heard your voices on a number of issues. Bodycams, economic opportunity, infrastructure.”

“I understand the anger and the frustration, OK? I hear you, I’m going to walk with you,” Curry said.

In comments to reporters, Curry vowed to “find common ground on issues that matter to people.”

The Mayor will introduce legislation bringing together the Sheriff, State Attorney, Public Defender, City Council, Mayor and “independent voices from the community that will be heard.”

Fournette, addressing the crowd in front of City Hall, was blunt.

“We gotta stop that racism. That sh*t is bad,” the Jaguars’ running back said to cheers from the crowd.

“My fear right now is my kids being stopped,” he said, noting that the Confederate memorial in Hemming Park is gone.

“We came together. The statue’s gone. That’s a big thing,” Fournette said.

Sheriff Mike Williams said he has “always listened to the community” and his door is still “open.”

Williams said he never expected his participation in a march put together by Fournette, but the “relationship” Curry and the Jaguar have allowed that to happen.

The Sheriff added that there has been a lot of “change” in JSO since he took over in 2015, and lauded the decision to remove the monument in Hemming, which “impeded the conversation” for necessary change.

“There’s work to do. There will be work to do for the next sheriff,” Williams said, noting that the city has changed as well, and has different expectations from law enforcement.

Though Mayor Curry and Gov. Ron DeSantis are political allies, Curry noted that he has not talked to the Governor about these decisions.

“They’re all on me,” he said.

A.G. Gancarski

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


5 comments

  • Frankie M.

    June 9, 2020 at 12:14 pm

    A 48 hour evolution? Sometimes all you need is a weekend to marinate on stuff I guess. Talk is cheap. Actions speak louder. Statues are nice but they don’t talk back.

  • You are disliked

    June 9, 2020 at 12:50 pm

    Southern Whites supported Curry against Anna Lopez Brosche, in part because she wanted to take down the Confederate Monuments, and slimeball Curry removes one in the middle of the night. Shad Khan and black lives matter owns him. He will never ever win any other political office. He is through. Curry has done nothing for Jacksonville. He tore down the landing, the Hart expressway ramp, tried to sell JEA and now a part of Jacksonville’s history. Where ever you go Curry, you will be booed and scorned. You have made your bed and now you will lie in it for the rest of your life.

  • Sonja Fitch

    June 9, 2020 at 5:02 pm

    Omg the broke clock got it right! The quick conversion of curry is almost to good to be true. Time will tell!

  • Frankie M.

    June 10, 2020 at 9:53 pm

    He is becoming a moderate before our eyes. Shoring up his bonafides and whatnot. Maybe he’ll run for governor when DeSantis runs for prez 4 years from now. He would get alot of votes from everyone but the white supremacists. Time will tell.

  • Letroy Jenkins

    June 16, 2020 at 11:48 pm

    This is real. I stopped at Jacksonville Flower Market yesterday. I was told they would not do business with me because of the Black Lives Matter shirt and hat I had on. The woman at the counter continued that BLM is a hoax and irrational. Then showed me the rebel flag patch she had on the top of her pants covered by her shirt saying these colors don’t run. I will have everyone I can boycott this racist business.

Comments are closed.


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