In hopes of getting a head start on the upcoming presidential elections, several state and local leaders held a press conference Tuesday to announce plans for a “March to the Capitol.”
Organizers of the march, which will take place on March 2, said the demonstration will serve as a catalyst to spearhead record turnouts at the voting polls in the fall.
“We cannot repeat what happened in November of 2000,” said Bishop Victor Curry.
Curry is President and General Manager of WMBM 1490 AM, a Miami radio station. He is also pastor of New Birth Baptist Church in Miami.
Other state leaders also issued their take on the demise of government in
Florida since the election 2000 controversy.
Dr. Anthony Viegbesie, vice president of the Florida State Conference of branches for the NAACP, spoke on the economic issues that have faced Floridians under the administration of Gov. Jeb Bush.
“The number of African Americans living in poverty grew by 750,000 last year,” Viegbesie said. “Currently the number of African American children living in poverty is the highest it has been in 23 years.”
State Sen. Tony Hill, D- Jacksonville, who along with Congressman Kendrick Meek, D-Fla., staged a sit-in at the Governor’s Office after Bush refused to meet with legislators to discuss the One Florida Initiative in 2000, was also in attendance.
“We are in a race to the bottom under failed policies of the state house to the White House,” he said.
Leaders issued a challenge to the people of Florida to not let the 2000 election discourage them from voting.
“Our goal is to register voters to let them know that their vote counts,” said
Sen. Brian Kline, the state senate democratic leader. “We are asking citizens to pay attention to what the government is doing to their lives.”
“We must send the message to the Governor that we know it’s your brother, but you can’t play favoritism in a democracy,” Curry said.
Tallahassee City Commissioner Andrew Gillum issued a challenge to FAMU students to make the march on Tallahassee a personal issue.
“FAMU students should know better than anyone about the importance of taking a stand and voting,” said Gillum “We are the only HBCU here, and Tallahassee is usually the scene of the crime.”
“We have to stand up for our little brothers and sisters…that we left back home,” he said.
State Rep. Ed Jennings Jr., D-Gainesville, expressed similar sentiments.
“I am hoping that the students of FAMU will take a day off and attend the march,” he said. “University funding is one of the major issues that will be addressed.”
Jennings also serves as the chairman of the Florida Council Of Black
“Part of the college experience is to make your presence known,” he said.
The March will take place on March 2. It will start and end at the Old Capitol building with a demonstration from 9:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. The date coincides with the commencement of the legislative session and the first day of FCAT testing.