FlaglerLive | July 31, 2013
Jesse Jackson visiting the Dream Defenders at Tallahassee’s Capitol early today. (Facebook)
Gov. Rick Scott and other Republican leaders slammed the Rev. Jesse
Jackson on Wednesday after the civil-rights veteran called a sit-in
protest at Scott’s office “the Selma of our time” while implicitly
comparing the state to South Africa and Scott to George Wallace.
In a statement issued by his office, Scott took Jackson to task for
the Selma comments made Tuesday and an earlier reported comment labeling
Florida an “apartheid state.”
“Jesse Jackson owes every Floridian an apology for his reckless and
divisive comments,” Scott said. “It is unfortunate that he would come to
Florida to insult Floridians and divide our state at a time when we are
striving for unity and healing.”
Appearing on the Rick Sanchez Radio Show a few hours later, Jackson dismissed the call for him to apologize as “absurd.”
Jackson also drew scorn from some Republicans for apparently
comparing Scott to Wallace, an infamous, segregationist governor of
Alabama, during remarks Tuesday.
Jackson spoke ahead of an overnight visit with the Dream Defenders, a
group that has staged a sit-in at Scott’s office to demand a special
legislative session to consider changes to the state’s self-defense
laws, initiatives to end racial profiling and an end to zero-tolerance
discipline policies in schools.
“We’ve seen Southern governors before have to change their minds,”
Jackson said when asked about Scott’s insistence that he wouldn’t call a
special session. Jackson mentioned Wallace as an example of someone who
had to change his mind.
That drew the ire of other Republicans.
“With Jesse Jackson having a history of making offensive remarks,
like calling New York City ‘Hymietown,’ it’s surprising to see that
Democrats are not denouncing Jackson for what he said about Florida and
Governor Rick Scott,” Republican Party of Florida Chairman Lenny Curry
said in a statement. “Jesse Jackson’s attacks are offensive,
inappropriate, divisive and ill-informed.”
Pensacola Rep. Mike Hill, the only black Republican in the
Legislature, also blasted Jackson’s comments as “a disgrace” in a
“When Jackson uses language that describes us as an apartheid state
and compares our governor to one of history’s most notorious bigots, he
is either hopelessly out of touch or purposefully dishonest,” Hill said.
The multipronged attack on Jackson came as the protests wore through a
16th day at the Capitol. Protesters have called their own “People’s
Session,” and held a committee meeting in Scott’s office to take
testimony on zero-tolerance policies in schools.
During that meeting, officials from local chapters of the Democratic
Black Caucus of Florida delivered a letter to Scott endorsing the
protests. After being told Scott wasn’t at the Capitol and chief of
staff Adam Hollingsworth was in a meeting, the group read the letter
from Henry Crespo Sr., the organization’s president, before handing it
to Scott’s receptionist.
“As governor of Florida, you have the power to calm the fears of
thousands of Florida families, especially blacks and Latinos, who are
questioning the ability of this state to protect their children from the
gross deficiencies of the aforementioned laws,” the letter said.
Also Wednesday, Senate Minority Leader Chris Smith, D-Fort
Lauderdale, unveiled a new website — FloridaStandYourGround.org — to
help push for changes to the “stand your ground” self-defense law that
has spurred a large amount of the debate.
“The website is a one-stop information center for anyone who wants to
know more about the law, what it does, how it’s being misused, and the
proposed changes to fix its dangerous flaws,” Smith said.
–Brandon Larrabee, News Service of Florida
Assist Ex-Felons with Rights Restoration Process
Louis C Ward
and others petitioning the Florida criminal justice system for
restoration of their civil rights received expert assistance from
lawyers in filling out “Applications for Clemency” at a
“Restoration of Rights” Workshop held Saturday, June 29, 2013 at
St Paul Missionary Baptist Church at 813 Pine Street, Sanford ,
by the Seminole County Democratic Black Caucus (SCDBC), the 3 hour
workshop disproved many individual's myths about what an ex-felon
looks like. Contrary to what many believe, many ex-felons are the
neighborhood college student, the responsible parent, or that decent
individual you know who's been trying to get a job.
point is these individuals are ex-felons because they may have been
convicted of drinking under age, hunting in the off season, or even
bouncing 4 checks in a year or some other crime that Florida's court
system has declared a felony.
it's gets worse. These individuals have completed their time in
prison, completed required supervision (parole or probation), and
paid their monetary restitution to the state, but their civil rights
still haven't been restored. They can not vote, get into affordable
housing or get a decent job because they are labeled a felon.
According to Ms.Phyllis Hancock, facilitator of the
“Restoration of Rights” workshop (pictured left), it's the bureaucratic process
to restore rights, which is controlled by the Florida Executive Board
Executive Board of Clemency meets quarterly, and it hears only15
cases at every meeting. Florida has more than 1.2 million
ex-felons, more than 900,000 of them have applied to have their civil
rights restored. It's incomprehensible the Executive Board of
Clemency only adjudicates 60 cases for restoration of rights a year
with almost a million ex-felons applying.
informed workshop participants that there is an initiative being
planned to take the restoration of rights process out of the hands of
the governor and give it to the voters.
believe that the privatization of Florida prisons has a lot to do
with the backlog of cases created by the “snail” movement of the
Florida Executive Board of Clemency. The prison system is a big
industry that produces employment and financial opportunities for
many. The rights of ex-felons are not important when compared to
employment and finance. When ex-felons cannot have their rights
restored, they cannot get gainful employment. Ex-felons have to
survive, so some will return to a life of crime. Then they become a
permanent part of the vicious criminal justice system that doesn't
rehabilitate lives, but condemns them to a life of hopelessness.
am glad that they are doing this workshop; it gives me a chance for a
clean slate,” said Joseph Thomas (pictured left with SCDBC President, Lavonne Grayson) a junior in college, who came to the workshop to have his criminal record sealed. His criminal record has "been messing with me, in terms of employment, and undermining my chances in seeking a good career."
need more people to vote to change the laws,” said Carsandra Buie,
an attorney who volunteered to help ex-felons complete 'Applications
for Clemency'. “It was a good turnout and presentation. It was
enlightening for me to tell people what they have to do to get
want to get the information about restoration of rights for ex-felons
out to the community so more volunteers will come out and help,”
said Lavonne Grayson, President of SCDBC (pictured above). “It's important to work
with ex-felons to help them have their rights restored, otherwise
it's taxation without representation.”
Democratic Black Caucus of Florida President Responds to Supreme’s Court’s Ruling on the Landmark 1965 Voting Rights Act
DBCF President Henry Crespo, Sr. said I am appalled at the recent Supreme Court’s 5 to 4 ruling in the Shelby County, Alabama vs. Holder case, which cuts deep into the 1965 Voting Rights Act and weakens the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
The ruling knocked down Section 4, a major part of the landmark 1965 Voting Rights Act, which protected millions of Americans from discrimination in elections and voting in southern states like Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas, and Virginia.
Although the entire 1965 Voting Rights Acts was not invalidated, Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act made it impossible for those hostile southern states to change election and voting laws without “pre-clearance” from the United States Attorney General or a federal judge.
Crespo said that despite improvement some southern states have made to stop discrimination, and Selma, Alabama, and Philadelphia, Mississippi, both have Black mayors, and we elected a Black president, “I still see the need for the 48 year old law to remain as Congress did in 2006, when it voted unanimously in the Senate and near unanimous in the House to reauthorized the 1965 Voting Rights Act.
With regard to Chief Justice John Roberts’ statement that Congress must come up with a new formula based on current data to determined which states should be subject to the “pre-clearance requirements, Crespo said, “With a heavily bipartisan House of Representatives and Senate, the possibility of both houses passing legislation now to stop states from practicing discrimination in election policies and voting laws seems highly improbable because both houses will not want to deal with it.”
“In the meanwhile,” Crespo said, “we can expect actions like this from Texas’s Attorney General Greg Abbott, who said he will move forward with a voter identification law, which had been stopped by a panel of federal judges, and redistricting changes the state tried to institute that are at a standstill in court battles,”
Despite the uphill battle to enact legislation against voting discrimination, Crespo still encourages Democratic caucuses, clubs, organizations and voters to mobilize and continue to petitioned Florida legislators to move quickly to restore legislation that will protect voters from discrimination and suppression.
“This not a Republican or Democrat issue, this is an American issue!” President Crespo emphasized.
Florida Democratic Black Caucus Pushes Building Initiative for 2014 Election Victory
Democratic Black Caucus of Florida (DBCF) plans to increase Black voter
turnout for the 2014 Gubernatorial Race with a series of county town
for its Outreach Building Initiative 2014 Victory Campaign (OBI). OBI’s
first town hall assembly is Sunday, June 15, 2013 at the annual
Jefferson Jackson Dinner Weekend at the Western Diplomat Hotel in
state and local Democratic leaders will attend the Jefferson-Jackson
Dinner, a major fund raising event sponsored by The Florida Democratic
Party (FDP), and
Henry Crespo, President of DBCF, sees a great opportunity to begin the
will introduce our OBI plan, which focuses on establishing new
Democratic Black Caucus Chapters in local counties, and strengthening
existing caucus chapters
to engage Black voters and register new voters to increase the number
of Democratic voters for a Democratic victory in the 2014 election.”
will focus on two main components: Voter Mobilization and Black Media
Outreach. Crespo feels both can help secure the Governor’s race and
in the Florida Senate and House in 2014.
Mobilization focus groups will develop qualitative data from specially
designed questions to increase participation and identify issues of
Black Media Outreach will partner with prominent Black owned
print and broadcast media to keep Black Democratic voters abreast of
issues, events, and activities that are important to Democrats, and show
how they can be a part of an effective OBI campaign.
aware of how Republicans increased their representation in Florida’s
Senate and House in 2010, Crespo said, “Our OBI campaign strategy will
provide a solid
infrastructure that positions the Florida Democratic Party to gain
seats in the Florida Senate and House. This is not only an opportunity
for Democrats to regain the Governor’s Mansion,
Democrats can win state and local elections in 2014, and the Black vote is critical to that opportunity.”
Download full press release here
We Sincerely Thank You!!!
On Saturday April 27, 2013 during the Democratic Black Caucus of Florida 31st Annual Conference held at the Doubletree by the Hilton -Orlando at SeaWorld over a hundred members from across the State of Florida took part in casting their vote for the election of officers for the DBCF. As a result of your vote, I was elected President of the DBCF and want to sincerely thank you for your support. The new DBCF officers joining me are Ms. Lydia Hudson- 1st Vice President, LaVonne Grayson- 2nd Vice President, Dorothy Jackson- Recording Secretary and Francine Garcia- Treasurer. I want you to know that I truly appreciate all of the members that attended and the ones that were not able to attend but were there in spirit. Now the work begins! I look forward to working with you in the coming year to achieve much success for the Democratic Black Caucus of Florida.
FIRED UP AND READY TO GO...
Annual 2 Day Conference, held April 26 and 27, 2013 at the Double Tree by the
Hilton at Orlando, Sea World, attracted members from almost every DBCF chapter
across the state of Florida.
President Dr. Bruce Miles described the 2 day conference as “high spirited”,
where members enjoyed a “Network Reception” Friday evening, and on Saturday,
members participated in workshops on “History of the DBCF”, Recertification,
and “Voting and Elections”, and finally DBCF elections.
minor confusion and contention during the election process, almost everyone who
attended the conference seemed to have had a good time and looks forward to the
vision of newly elected President Henry Crespo and his team making the DBCF a more
respected and effective organization in the political process in the state of
Here are some members who attended the 2 day conference. (Photographs by Louis C Ward)
President of the Democratic Black Caucus of Florida, congratulates Senator Arthenia
L Joyner on recently being the first African American woman elected to lead Democrats in
the Florida Senate 2014 through 2016
Joyner with her extensive experience in the House of Representatives and the
Senate has proven to be an effective legislator and champion for her
constituents and the people of the state of Florida.
looks forward to working with Ms. Joyner, who has been at the forefront in the
fight to improve life for Floridians through the political process in Florida." President Crespo stated.
Henry Crespo Elected President of Democratic Black Caucus of Florida
By Louis C Ward
After all the politicking by hopeful candidates, the debating, the
confusion, and the contention, Henry Crespo of Miami-Dade County was
unanimously elected President of the Democratic Black Caucus of Florida (DBCF) on
Saturday, April 27th at its 31st
Annual Conference held at the Doubletree
by the Hilton- Orlando @ Sea World
During his campaign, Crespo visited many of the DBCF chapters, discussing the issues
and problems of the organization, and his strategic plan to make the DBCF a
more respected, astute, and powerful political organization. Apparently he
impressed a large majority of registered Democratic Black Caucus
members. His election was a mandate from the voters for new
leadership and a change of direction for the DBCF.
Crespo immediately summoned his newly elected executive
board and took control of the historical Black political organization that “was
established in 1983 to unite and increase the political power for Black
Democrats who went unnoticed.”
Also elected was Lydia Hudson, 1st Vice
President; LaVonne Grayson, 2nd Vice President; Dorothy
Jackson, Secretary; and Francine Garcia, Treasurer. Newly elected officers are
from Hillsborough, Seminole, Miami-Dade, and Lake Counties,
respectively. Many felt the newly elected executive board would be
better able to represent the concerns of the various geographical areas in the
state of Florida.
Crespo said his first order of action will focus on increasing
the number of DBCF’s County Chapters, and to make sure existing chapters have
everything in place so that they are in compliance with local bylaws and
guidelines to pass the recertification process, which is due in July.
“A strategic plan of action, Crespo said, is necessary, and
one will be developed to accomplish the mission, goals and objectives of the DBCF,
which will bring us in line to move Forward. Hopefully, our
strategic plan of action will be completed before the end of 2013.”
Responding to the relationship between the Florida
Democratic Party (FDP) and DBCF, Crespo wants a relationship with the FDP that
will identify, engage, educate, and motivate democratic voters to elect more
democrats in the state to affect public policy.
Mrs. Allison Tant-Richard Chairwoman of the FDP, sees a positive relationship between the DBCF and the FDP
toimprove identify, engage and motive Florida Democrats. “The FDP will work
alongside the DBCF to register voters and get them to the
polls. They (FDP and DBCF) will help spread Democratic values and
highlight the failures of the GOP into communities across the state which will
play a key role in defeating Rick Scott.”
Newly elected DBCF officers were
sworn in by Annette Taddeo, 2nd Vice Chairwoman of the Florida Democratic
Party. Download Full Story here