Florida State Senator Shevrin Jones (SD-34) today released the following statement:
As we mark the 55th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination, we cannot ignore the ongoing fight for human and civil rights that persists today. Dr. King so eloquently noted in his last speech, ‘I’ve Been to the Mountaintop,’ the reality that our country remains a work in progress, calling on America to ‘Be true to what you said on paper.’ Fast forward to last night: Florida Democratic Party Chair Nikki Fried, Senate Democratic Leader Lauren Book, and other peaceful protestors were arrested while demonstrating against the state’s latest draconian abortion ban. Our right to protest and speak freely without fear of legal intervention ought to be safe – but that’s unfortunately not the case in Ron DeSantis’ Florida.
This assault on our rights sadly extends far beyond Florida as lawmakers in Tennessee seek to expel colleagues over gun safety demonstrations, just days after children and teachers were mowed down at a Nashville school. Across the country, Republican extremists are in lockstep with DeSantis as they choose fascist attacks against political opponents over actually improving people’s lives. Rather than proposing solutions to close the healthcare access gap or help Floridians plan for retirement, Florida Republicans choose to further stack the deck in favor of their corporate donors and against workers and families. Rather than addressing the property insurance and housing affordability crisis, Florida Republicans are fast-tracking more voter suppression laws that will make it harder for seniors and young people to have their voices heard.
It’s long past time for Florida’s elected leaders to recalibrate and get back to basics to ensure the state’s priorities align with our shared priorities: dignity over dehumanization, empathy over extremism, and people over profiteering.