Students in Florida could soon observe a “Victims of Communism Day” under a measure OK’d Thursday by a House subcommittee.
Under the proposal (HB 395), government and public schools would begin observing “Victims of Communism Day” on Nov. 7, 2023.
The measure would require public school students to receive 45 minutes of instruction on communist leaders and the suffering of victims under their rule.
Mao Zedong and the Cultural Revolution, Joseph Stalin and the Soviet System, Fidel Castro and the Cuban Revolution, Vladimir Lenin and the Russian Revolution, are among the leaders and topics listed in the measure.
The House Secondary Education and Career Development Subcommittee unanimously passed the proposal. Republican Rep. David Borrero of Sweetwater is the bill sponsor.
Students, he said, should learn the “true history” of communism.
“Communism fails every single time, and that’s what students need to learn and understand,” Borrero told lawmakers.
The bill and its Senate companion (SB 268) — sponsored by Republican Sen. Manny Diaz Jr. of Hialeah Gardens — don’t require additional funding.
Throughout the committee process, lawmakers on both sides shared stories of the horrors experienced under communism — either by themselves or loved ones.
“We need to understand our struggles,” said Democratic Rep. Marie Woodson of Hollywood. “We need to understand our past. We need to take time to understand each other to learn about our history.”
The bills filed by Diaz and Borrero are identical to ones Borrero and Republican Sen. Ana Maria Rodriguez of Miami filed last Session. While Borrero’s bill passed in the House, both died before reaching DeSantis’ desk.
According to the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, legislation for a “Victims of Communism Day” has passed in Alabama, Utah and Virginia. Other states are moving to do the same, the group says.
Borrero presented the bill alongside Republican Rep. Alex Rizo of Hialeah. In his closing, he argued schools should teach communism as more than an “economic theory.”
“We remember history so that we will never repeat its darkest chapters,” Rizo said.