Democrats, activists decry ‘Individual Freedom’ bill at Capitol rally

Individual Freedom
Critics blast the bill as the latest instance of a 'racist and transphobic' attack.

Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried and Democratic lawmakers led activists Monday in a “rally” against a Republican proposal that would stomp the teachings of critical race theory in Florida.

Outside of the Florida Historic Capitol, Democratic Reps. Angie Nixon and Kelly Skidmore urged colleagues to continue challenging the proposal as it motors through the Legislature.  

The measure — coined an “Individual Freedom” bill (HB 7) — will appear next before the House Education and Employment Committee, marking its final committee stop before the floor. 

It is undoubtedly among the more controversial proposals of the 2022 Legislative Session. It seeks to quell classroom and corporate discussions that Republicans consider “woke” indoctrinations of cultural guilt. It also creates a legal mechanism allowing employees to sue corporations that teach critical race theory.

“Let’s be clear, this is a systematic approach to divide us,” Skidmore told attendees.

Fried, a gubernatorial contender, decried the proposal and championed herself as a “fighter” on behalf of Floridians. The bill, she asserted, flies in the face of Floridians suffering with real issues such as rent increases and the COVID-19 pandemic. Rent prices are up 50% over the past year in South Florida, NBC Miami reports, which ranks as the single-largest annual increase in the nation.

“They don’t care about you,” Fried said. “They don’t care about us. They only care about one thing: power.”

Democrats at large vehemently oppose the bill and characterize it as a censorship of historical teachings. Democratic Rep. Dotie Joseph of North Miami described the bill as a “whitewash” of history. She further blasted it as communist and socialist in nature. Democratic Reps. Kristen Arrington of Kissimmee and Angie Nixon of Jacksonville also attended the event. 

“To those uncomfortable talking about the good and bad of history, suck it up,” Joseph said.

The bill, critics contend, could effectively ban books, classroom materials or even classroom discussions if parents believe the materials have subjective spins on historical facts — particularly if those “spins” distress a student on account of his or her race. Critics also warn the bill may limit discussions on other historical events such as the Holocaust or Japanese internment camps.

Still, DeSantis is a proponent of the measure. And with Democratic lawmakers wildly outnumbered in both chambers, opponents can do little to stop or amend the proposal.

“We want to make sure people can go to school without being scapegoated or targeted,” he told reporters in February.

Jason Delgado

Jason Delgado covers news out of the Florida State Capitol. After a go with the U.S. Army, the Orlando-native attended the University of Central Florida and earned a degree in American Policy and National Security. His past bylines include WMFE-NPR and POLITICO Florida. He'd love to hear from you. You can reach Jason by email ([email protected]) or on Twitter at @byJasonDelgado.


12 comments

  • Old Voter

    February 7, 2022 at 6:55 pm

    Nikki Fried doesn’t support CRT. Everything in her background cries out White Privilege. But she will jump on any cause that gets her votes from the left. Don’t be suckered by this white fake.

  • PeterH

    February 7, 2022 at 7:24 pm

    Trump and DeSantis are all about FREEDUMB!

    • Ron Ogden

      February 7, 2022 at 8:33 pm

      And you are all about power and privilege–the privilege to tell an entire race of people that they and their forebearers possess a guilt that disqualifies them from citizenship. Because your ethos is centered on race, you are de facto racists.

    • zhombre

      February 8, 2022 at 8:00 am

      I’ll be so happy to see the Dems take a shellacking in November and see DeSantis re-elected. Little Lincoln Project barking chihuahua PeterH can decry the results and cry in his soy latte.

  • Ron Ogden

    February 7, 2022 at 9:22 pm

    “. . subjective spins on historical facts — particularly if those “spins” distress a student on account of his or her race.”

    So, you support teaching lessons in classrooms that might be subjective and might “distress” or offend students on account of their race? Let’s be clear about it. Is that your position?

    • Concern Citizen

      February 8, 2022 at 8:23 am

      Do the people who oppose CRT even know the curriculum or do they just parrot the BS they hear from the Anti-CRT talking heads?

      • zhombre

        February 8, 2022 at 9:16 am

        I’ve studied the five tenets of CRT and read critiques of it (which I’ve linked to but assholes like Alex and PeterH disregard any source that doesn’t ‘parrot’ their views). What about you? Explain its five tenets right here on this thread in your own simple words. Show how well informed and clever you are.

        • Concern Citizen

          February 8, 2022 at 11:53 am

          No need to cover the 5 tenets. I will only cover the first and third.

          The first tenet. “The notion that racism is ordinary and not aberrational” .
          No need to prove this tenets. Just look at virtually every society and you will find racism.

          The third tenet. “The social construction of race”.
          An example would be the Supreme Court Case, regarding Dred Scott cases that stated that people of color are not citizens, thus they were not eligible to vote. Another example, is the denial of social security benefits to people of color when social security was introduced. At the same time Congress passed additional legislation that would not allow “colored” to be a union member.

          Examples to support this tenet are endless just by reviewing the legislative and court decisions at the federal and state level for the pasttwo century. These factors do create a social structure!

          What is there to fear of CRT? Do we stop teaching history because we feel discomfort. Or do we write history based on emotion and political views, not facts

        • Don’t Look Up

          February 8, 2022 at 12:02 pm

          Don’t Look Uo! Don’t EVER Look Up!

        • Concern Citizen

          February 8, 2022 at 9:52 pm

          Zhombre, could I please see the critiques of CRT that you commented about. . I am interested. Thank you

    • tjb

      February 8, 2022 at 2:19 pm

      CRT is a political red herring issue. Perhaps we should discuss the Jan 6 attack on Democracy.

  • ScienceBLVR

    February 8, 2022 at 6:49 am

    This is more made up BS from DeSantis and his sycophants in the legislature and Corcoran the “education commissioner” and I use the term “education” very loosely. Banning CRT, whatever they decide or say that is, seems to be driven by the fact the Republicans have no political platform, ideas, or goals for the future. Or the simple desire to even help Floridians with issues that truly affect their daily lives. If I ask 100 Floridians what their biggest concerns are, do you really think they say the teaching of CRT in the schools? That is not what they tell me..

Comments are closed.


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