Florida public schools may soon observe a “Victims of Communism Day” under a bill approved Wednesday by the House.
Sponsored by Republican Rep. David Borrero of Sweetwater, the bill (HB 1553) would designate Nov. 7 in Florida as “Victims of Communism Day.”
“Throughout history, communism has proved that it is riddled with bloodshed and the deprivation of so many lives,” Borrero said.
The proposal also calls on high schools to teach students about communist dictators and the experience of communism victims.
The instruction, which would become a high school graduation requirement, is required to be at least 45 minutes long.
Republican state Rep. Alex Rizzo of Hialeah applauded the bill and encouraged all lawmakers to support it.
“Communism is an instrument of evil,” Rizzo said.
The bill passed unanimously.
Democratic Rep. Kevin Chambliss of Homestead, a co-sponsor of the bill, described the bill as a bipartisan measure.
“I stand with you as I told you in committee,” Chambliss said. “I stand with you because I myself am a descendant of a slave.”
Speaking on the House floor, Chambliss encouraged other lawmakers to listen to the stories of his ancestors.
“I recognize the pain of your people and I look forward to moving forward with a Legislature that does the same for mine.”
According to a staff analysis, the first communist state dates back to 1917 in Russia under the leadership of Vladimir Lenin.
“Communism is a political and economic doctrine that aims to replace private property and a profit-based economy with public ownership and communal control of at least the major means of production and the natural resources of a society.”
Under the Victims of Communism Day instruction, the staff analysis adds, students will reflect on a variety of topics such as Joseph Stalin and the Soviet Union and Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela.
The bill now moves to the Senate.
If signed into law, the bill will take effect July 1.