Tarik Polk, other Rattlers join rally

Photo of Tariq Polk courtesy: Polk

Tarik Polk, who is in his fourth year as a computer engineering major at Florida A&M University, marched with passion Wednesday to ensure his voice was heard.

“I was glad to find that several other individuals were against the ban. It’s a shame that we have to deal with something like this in 2023, it’s even worse that it’s during Black History Month, when we should be celebrating key individuals and events instead of hiding them,” he said.

The Rev. Al Sharpton traveled to Tallahassee on Wednesday to oppose Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ latest efforts to prohibit the teaching of Black history in public schools in Florida.

Hundreds of individuals attended the “rally to save our history,” including educators, parents, residents, pastors, civil rights activists, public officials and plenty of Rattlers.

Polk met with participants in the march assembled at the Bethel Missionary Baptist Church on Wednesday morning before beginning their journey to the Old Florida State Capitol. There, they started a rally and then held a press conference.

Sharpton released a statement from his organization. “Governor DeSantis is using his office to sanitize Black history from the education system,” Sharpton said. “He might call this a crusade, but everyone can clearly see this is a campaign tactic for him to run for president. He is sending a message that it is permissible to make racism state policy. Wednesday’s rally should send a clear message that you cannot politicize the education system or erase Black stories from American history.”

According to the Guardian, the College Board swiftly published a statement denying that the adjustments made to its proposed Advanced Placement course on Black studies were politically driven, stating that it had finished its revisions prior to DeSantis’ caustic push-back. However, a leaked letter from Florida’s Department of Education said last week that the College Board has been in constant touch with the DeSantis administration regarding the course.

“I would like my younger siblings to be able to learn about their history if they wanted to. Banning it seems so extreme. Why can’t we just add a opt out feature if it is so woke for some people to handle,” Polk said.

Sharpton marched to the Old State Capitol to oppose DeSantis’ efforts to prevent AP African American studies in Florida’s public schools and his continued targeting of Black Floridians in the curriculum and at the polls to progress his political agenda.