For Immediate Release: June 1, 2023
President Debbie Deland, Florida NOW email@example.com
JIM CROW RETURNS TO FLORIDA – DeSantis STYLE
Debbie Deland, President of FL NOW said that “DeSantis’s unprecedented sprint to autocracy, in lockstep with the 2023 Florida legislature’s supermajority, has
been formally unleashed. The supermajority of the Legislature and DeSantis are racists, misogynists, sexists, anti-people of color, homophobic, anti-immigrants, anti-public education, anti-free speech… These legislators and governor closed the worst session in Florida’s history on May 5. The repercussions are just being identified and/or felt.
There were many egregious, cruel, and unconstitutional bills signed into law, at times in the dark of night, that are shattering families, bullying the most vulnerable populations, and taking vengeance out on entities or groups that dare oppose DeSantis’s white male supremist ideology. A new era of Jim Crow is ushered in by DeSantis.”
The New Jim Crow is established by DeSantis laws and policies:
VOTER SUPPRESSION: Instead of making this fundamental constitutional right easily accessible to all citizens and despite a highly national acclaimed 2020 Florida voting performance, DeSantis championed laws that hinder voters from their right to vote with confusion, chaos, contradictions and/or fear. Debbie Deland, President of FL NOW said “DeSantis and the Legislature don’t want the young or people of color to vote.”
- He gerrymandered the districting map eliminating two Black districts.
- He expanded restrictive and suppressive 2021 laws with new changes to the
Vote-By-Mail option, reduced time for returning VBM completed ballots, reduced
number of drop box locations, and hours of service—reducing people of color vote
- First time voters are prohibited from using the VBM option and must vote for the
first time at their home precinct—limiting youth vote.
- There are more constraints and bigger risks placed on Third Party Organizations
that reach out to marginalized communities: shortened timeframes, requiring
receipts to voter, plus new and higher fines for errors. Again, an attack on voting
by communities of color.
- Attacking Returning Citizens, the law places the onus for knowing one’s eligibility
to vote on the person when it is the State’s responsibility to report this information. There is no good tracking by the State of fines and fees for felons that was the state’s way of denying them the vote that voters gave them. Based on his order, they turned down the system supposed to track fines and fees. Supervisor of Elections have to call clerk of courts to verify eligibility.
- DeSantis added to his personal police force to ‘uncover’ voter fraud (when there was virtually none) and has recently set up the arrests of twenty persons because they received Florida Voter ID cards from the State even though they were ineligible and dared to vote!
PUBLIC EDUCATION: All levels of education from K-12 to public universities have been severely attacked.
- New laws defund or eliminate Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging programs, departments, majors, and classes.
- Majors and classes in Gender, Race, and AP African American Studies have been modified or eliminated.
- Boards of Trustees and University Administrators have been fired or made to resign and replaced by DeSantis sycophants.
- New laws prevent students from discussing or learning about the LGBTQIA+ communities through 12th grade. Math books are being rejected as well as many other textbooks for reference to an LBGTQ+ person for example.
- On top of a severe shortage of teachers, these new laws and policies are forcing more teaches to leave teaching not only because of their low pay and benefits (among the lowest in the U.S.), but also due to the risks associated with teaching, fines, misdemeanors, and felonies.
VOUCHERS: Debbie Deland stated that ‘the $8,500 per student school voucher expansion will cost the FL public schools $4B dollars. This horrendous expansion of school vouchers segregates schools.”
- No matter what your family income is you can take advantage of a school voucher.
- Voucher expansion flies in the face of separation of Church and State because vouchers are going to religious schools.
- This voucher can be used to enroll children in private, or religious schools. But this $8,500 misleads low-income families who think they are doing right by placing their children in a private or religious school, only to find they cannot afford other expenses, e.g., the balance of tuition, transportation, books, sports, uniforms, etc.
- These ‘private’, religious and most charter schools are without accountability for
curriculum, standards, and teacher education, training, and certifications. They can expel students and go out of business and the money does not follow students to return to public schools.
- Today, many students come back to the public schools due to being behind two years of learning, but return without funding and no funding to catch them up.
- Already FL public schools are under-funded with teachers that are woefully underpaid and have poor benefits. (the union busting bill particularly harms the teachers’ unions that will further exacerbate poor pay and benefits). This direct deduction of $4B of public education funds creates a segregated school system in FL.
BANNING BOOKS: Debbie Deland said, “Massive book banning in FL is NO hoax. It is raging county by county from many people that aren’t even parents in those communities. Book banning drives ignorance. DeSantis seems to want an ignorant populous.”
- DeSantis mandated that all school textbooks and books need to be approved by ‘reading specialists’ for age appropriateness and content that is not WOKE. Books are being removed if one person objects even if not a parent.
- Debbie Deland notes that “Contrary to DeSantis’ derogatory meaning for Woke, the real meaning of Woke is to understand the histories of injustices and current injustices to move forward to fixing them. It is something we should all aspire to know and act on.”
- Laws and policies on race, sexuality and gender identity and restrictions on school library material have been signed. Yet, “It’s disingenuous to say that the state’s not responsible when they’ve created an environment of fear, of civil liability, loss of jobs, loss of teaching licenses, if a line is crossed,” said Caldwell-Stone, director of the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom. In fact, teachers have already been fired and licenses have already been revoked.
- Banning books adds a new level to Jim Crow in the 21st century. The classic book, “1984” captures the state of FL and books.
LEGAL SYSTEM & OVER-POLICED: A new law states that ONLY 8 of 12 jurors are now required to apply the death penalty in capital cases (and the judge can override the jury’s sentence if he/she wants the death penalty) in the face of much higher, biased rates of Black incarceration. This action discriminates against Blacks and puts more of them to death when many have been found innocent over time. Studies show that Blacks do not commit more crimes than whites and that Blacks are over-policed with many losing their lives in custody. Debbie Deland, President FL NOW, said “This new law is no different than some of the behavior under Jim Crow and likely takes us back to basically white hanging juries.”
6-WEEK ABORTION BAN: This law virtually bans abortion in Florida. Most women do not know that they are pregnant in 6 weeks and would not have time to complete the requirements of the state to get the abortion. We have already seen the sad consequences for several women carrying unviable fetuses. They are not babies. As another element of this new Jim Crow, the severe abortion ban especially disadvantages lower economic and women of color communities.
FLORIDA NOW REACTS and CALLS FOR ACTION:
Debbie Deland, FLNOW President said, “Clearly DeSantis and his Administration have gone beyond any point of reason. By imposing their blatant, racist, misogynistic, perverted sense of ‘freedom’ agenda on Florida, they are hurting every Floridian socially, economically, and politically. This agenda compares to the Jim Crow era our country suffered after Reconstruction and to segregation, which is returning covertly and unjustly. We need to educate everyone about the deleterious direction our democracy is heading at the expense of women, people of color, LGBTQ+, immigrants seeking asylum, etc. Florida NOW will be looking to support justice in all these intersectional areas.”
Florida NOW: is an intersectional grassroots organization that promotes feminist ideals, leads societal change, eliminates discrimination, and protects the equal rights of all women and girls in all aspects of social, political, and economic life.