By Pat Bryant – On the steps of Bethel Baptist Church, Florida’s Progressive Clergy responded to the racist August 26, 2023 massacre of three Blacks by a 21 year old racist White man at a Jacksonville Dollar General Store. Florida’s progressive clergy took back the microphone from Governor Ron DeSantis and hateful forces that attack Black, Brown, LGBTQ+ communities.
Led by the Florida Council of Churches, the League of Women’s Voters, the National Action Network, and other religious entities. All assembled marched on September 16th, from the church to Jacksonville City Hall. A day earlier, these religious leaders delivered to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis a letter demanding he cease and desist from spewing racist rhetoric that creates an environment of racial hatred and violent attacks upon Black, Brown and marginalized communities. A few of the more than 200 persons supporting the ministers were authors, scholars and noted community and labor activists. Along with chants, the group sang spirituals to inspire attendees. Renowned activist preacher Bishop William Barber, was at the podium repeating statistics included in the cease and desist letter and carrying those words with him in his speeches across America. “DeSantis has to stop dividing people with racist rhetoric and unite them to solve the problems of poor people,” said Barber.