Florida Policy Institute staff — Holly Bullard, Alexis Davis, Cindy Huddleston, Sadaf Knight, Sonia Lindell, Tachana Marc, and Anne Swerlick — released the following statement:
“All Floridians cannot thrive when some are targeted and unsafe because of the color of their skin. We stand with the groundswell of people across Florida and the nation who are protesting in memory of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and countless more, and taking a stand against the systemic racism that has permeated our criminal justice system and infected our country since its inception. These injustices are compounded by the coronavirus health and economic crises, which are impacting Black individuals at a greater rate due to long-standing disinvestments in their communities’ health and economic opportunities.
"We recognize that expressions of solidarity need to accompany policy solutions and a long term commitment to ending white supremacy, even when the news cycle turns to something else. As such, we commit to partnering with and lifting up organizations in the movement toward racial and economic justice. We call on Florida lawmakers and law enforcement leaders to condemn systemic racism and commit to working with communities on policy solutions that actively dismantle it.
"Inequity in Florida and our nation did not come about by accident. The racial disparities in health outcomes, wages, wealth, education, incarceration rates, and multiple other measures are the result of a history of racist laws and regulations.
"For example, Florida’s felony disenfranchisement law, which voters overturned in 2018 through passage of a constitutional amendment, was first adopted in the 1868 state Constitution. This law was intended to permanently disenfranchise Black people in Florida and continue the institution of slavery ‘by another name.’ Yet, fast-forward to the present day, and despite two court rulings upholding the decision of Florida’s voters, some state leaders are trying to undercut the amendment’s impact.
"We envision a state where every Floridian has an equal opportunity to thrive; a state where everyone has equitable access to health care, education, housing, and jobs with no barriers based on race or ethnicity. The only way to accomplish this is to eradicate the systemic racism sewn into the fabric of our state and local statutes. We reaffirm our commitment to vigorously pursue anti-racist policies in solidarity with Black communities."