Advocacy groups to launch newspaper ads urging corporations to oppose anti-riot, voter suppression legislation
Image via AP.

Black Voters
Critics want Florida companies to stand up, like Coca-Cola and Delta did.

A coalition of Black and progressive political action organizations are placing full-page ads in newspapers Sunday urging Florida’s corporate leaders to oppose Republicans’ anti-protest and voting legislation.

The newspaper ads will appear in the Miami Herald, Orlando Sentinel, Tallahassee Democrat, and Pensacola News Journal. They’ll urge the kind of corporate opposition and pressure that Delta Air Lines, Coca-Cola, and Major League Baseball brought against Georgia’s voting laws.

Specifically the ads call for opposition of Florida’s HB 1, which would strengthen government crackdowns on street protests, and SB 90, which is similar to Georgia’s new voting laws, plus their cross-chamber companion bills, SB 484 and HB 7041, respectively.

And while many corporate interests declare that the culturally-divisive Georgia voting law is bad for business, Republicans were swift to retaliate, accusing them of joining cancel culture politics. Florida Republican lawmakers vowed to stand up to them if corporations bring the same message to Florida.

Florida’s bills have moved along entirely partisan lines, as did the Georgia laws. Republicans contend the protest legislation, a priority of Gov. Ron DeSantis, is an anti-riot bill, and the voting law changes an anti voter-fraud bill.

Democrats and the newspaper advertisements running Sunday contend they are anti-free speech and voter suppression laws.

The ads also urge corporations to support two Democratic-backed federal bills in Congress, HR 1 and HR 4, which Democrats contend would broaden voter access and Republicans contend would weaken election safety.

“The Florida business community must help stop Jim Crow 2.0!” the newspaper advertisement’s top headline will declare Sunday.

“Florida corporations, where are you?”

“Democracy is good for business. Voter suppression and attacks on free speech are not.”

The ads are being placed by a coalition that includes Equal Ground Action Fund, Black Voters Matter, Dream Defenders, Florida Rising, and others.

The ads pick up a call made earlier this week by members of the Florida Legislative Black Caucus for corporations to publicly join the opposition.

“Corporations are an integral part of the community in Florida. They should not and cannot be on the sidelines,” Democratic Sen. Perry Thurston said Monday. “As others are doing across the nation, Florida’s top executives need to speak out and let Floridians know where they stand on these suppressive laws.”

Scott Powers

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at [email protected].

One comment

  • Seber Newsome III

    April 10, 2021 at 3:49 am

    I have been involved in many rallies/protests. This bill will not impeded upon ones right to free speech, only on ones right to be stupid and commit a crime.

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