Special Session: Equal Ground holds ‘Day of Action’ to protest racial impact of redistricting

The Legislative Black Caucus will also be part of the event.

Black leaders will hold a press conference in Florida’s Capitol Tuesday morning to kick off a “Congressional Redistricting Day of Action.”

That’s ahead of a Special Session where lawmakers expect to pass a congressional map (P 0109) submitted by Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Equal Ground, a Black-led organization fighting for political power and voter access across Florida, announced the demonstrations.

“As it stands, the Governor has insisted that the state Legislature approve a map that would reduce Florida’s Black representation by 50%,” said Nathan Janda, communications coordinator for Equal Ground.

“Across the nation, new barriers have been created to keep certain voters away from the ballot box and farther away from equal representation. This deliberate power grab is in direct violation of Florida’s Fair District amendment in the state constitution.”

DeSantis’ map aims to challenge provisions of the Fair Districts amendment to Florida’s Constitution that prohibits diminishment of minority voting power. The Governor argues racially motivated cartography violates the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution. His map would reconfigure Florida’s 5th and 10th Congressional Districts, represented respectively by Democratic U.S. Reps. Al Lawson and Val Demings.

Organizers note the attempt to reduce the number of Black-controlled congressional districts comes after the courts ruled unconstitutional parts of last year’s law changing Florida’s voting codes. A judge ordered the state not to enforce provisions that more tightly regulate the use of ballot drop boxes and third-party voter registration efforts. Critics contended the election changes ran “roughshod over the right to vote” and would disproportionately impact minority communities.

The day of protest starts with a 10 a.m. press conference by Legislative Black Caucus leaders including state Rep. Angie Nixon, a Jacksonville Democrat. Mutaquee Akbar will moderate the event, which will also feature Jasmine Burney-Clark, founder of Equal Ground Action Fund; Ben Frazier, president of Jacksonville’s Northside Coalition; Rev. R. L. Gundy of Jacksonville; Rev. Robert Spooney of Orlando; Rev. Russell Drake of Orlando; and Pastor R.B. Holmes of Bethel Missionary Baptist in Tallahassee.

Other participating organizations besides Equal Ground include All Voting is Local, Florida Rising, The First Coast Leadership Foundation, Northside Coalition of Jacksonville, Faith in Public Life, Jacksonville Community Action Committee, Real Women Radio Foundation, Black Voters Matter, Florida Conservation Voters, ACLU, Tallahassee Chapter of National Action Network, Florida State Conference of the NAACP and the Southern Poverty Law Center.

The Special Session gavels in at noon on Tuesday.

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected].

One comment

  • Matthew Lusk

    April 19, 2022 at 12:18 pm

    These are black special interests that spew propaganda. Nothing mainstream black here. Why are they for killing black babies? Why do they want to flood the Country with competing cheap labor? Why do they support Islam over Christianity? Why do they want to spread racism? Why do they support sodomy? Who funds them to get the rest of the story.

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