September 5, 2023

Think Tank Spotlights Worker Justice History as Part of Timeline Initiative to Build Awareness of Florida’s Policy Past, Share Lessons in Cross-Racial Solidarity

Think tank’s initiative details how racism in historical laws and regulations continues to affect Floridians’ ability to thrive and prosper

Florida Policy Institute (FPI) today unveiled the worker justice portion of its multimedia initiative, The Florida Timeline, which examines how laws and regulations implemented throughout the state’s history have driven disparate outcomes by race and ethnicity.

Specifically, the new section of the timeline examines the period from 1845, when Florida first joined the United States as a slavery-sanctioning state,  to the modern-day struggle for workers’ rights. As noted in the timeline, the legacy of slavery and Florida’s economic reliance on exploited labor continues to resonate as domestic workers remain sidelined from basic workplace rights and the state’s service-driven labor force pushes for better pay.

Sadaf Knight, CEO of FPI, said: “Every Floridian deserves to be paid a living wage at a job that provides a safe and equitable workplace. As The Florida Timeline shows, however, throughout our state’s history, up to and including the 2023 legislative session, there have been measures enacted at every turn designed to concentrate wealth in the hands of a powerful few. Indeed, the disparities that exist today are not accidental — they are the result of policies that prioritize employers’ profit to the detriment of workers, especially immigrants,  Black and Latina/o Floridians, and people in low-wage jobs.”

At the core of The Florida Timeline is a lesson in shared prosperity. As Heather McGhee describes in her 2021 book, The Sum of Us, when people join together to remove historical barriers to racial and ethnic equity, the vast majority will benefit. FPI first rolled out The Florida Timeline, which is housed at, in October 2022, with a focus on historical tax and criminal justice policy.

FPI is an independent, nonpartisan and nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing state policies and budgets that improve the economic mobility and quality of life for all Floridians.

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