Local Black leaders want DeSantis to do more

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. Photo courtesy www. commons.wikimedia.org

The life-changing COVID-19 pandemic is entering its third year. And it’s safe to say that the virus is still an ongoing threat that is killing thousands of Americans every day.

This is especially an issue for the African American community. COVID-19 has feasted on communities of color across the country.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, Florida has had about 5,680,958 COVID cases and counting.

African Americans are the most affected group of people out of all minorities. About 65% of Florida isn’t vaccinated, and 14.2% of that group are African Americans who aren’t vaccinated, according to the official Florida Health Justice website.

Both the current and past presidents of the Tallahassee chapter of the NAACP told The Famuan they don’t believe Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has done enough to address the pandemic’s impact on Black and Brown communities.

“I feel like Ron DeSantis has seriously abandoned his responsibility as our governor,” said Adner Marcelin, former president of the Tallahassee chapter of the NAACP.

Marcelin is a candidate for the Tallahassee City Commission. He made it quite evident that he believes that DeSantis is not doing enough. And due to this, he reasons that the Black community is at a disadvantage.

“Overall, the administration has failed to protect the people of Florida, especially the Black community,” Marcelin said. “The number of cases in Florida are staggering and are growing with new cases every day.”

DeSantis has shut down testing sites and removed mandates, which is causing more African Americans to be at risk, according to Marcelin.

Mutaqee Akbar, president of the Tallahassee chapter of the NAACP, agrees with Marcelin’s notion that DeSantis isn’t doing enough for the Black community.

“A lot of the things he has proposed has been detrimental to the Black community,” Akbar said.

He noted that the disparity in the healthcare system between Caucasians and African Americans is a case in point. When it comes to quality healthcare, health insurance, and food, the Black community lacks in these areas, he said.

Akbar and Marcelin believe that there are f solutions that would make it easier for the community in many ways. They want to start implementing more testing sites in Tallahassee in areas such as Frenchtown and the south side.

They also said that for change to occur, it must start within the community. By pushing mask mandates, encouraging each other to get vaccinated, and making sure that the right information about the virus flows through the community, progress is possible.

“It’s time to shift the paradigm to be proactive,” Marcelin said. “It’s time for us as a community to be focusing on all the opportunities that allow for us to do for ourselves.”

DeSantis’ office e did not respond to requests for comment.