Florida Pro-Affirmative Action March

Michael Hoover hoov at freenet.tlh.fl.us
Mon Mar 6 17:50:27 PST 2000

More than 10,000 are expected to march on Tuesday, including fifteen busloads folks from Orlando area that local AFL-CIO is sending to Tally... Michael Hoover

> Diverse coalition will target Bush
> Maria T. Padilla
> of The Sentinel Staff
> Published in The Orlando Sentinel on March 03, 2000
> Next Tuesday's pro-affirmative action march in Tallahassee may
> produce the most diverse group yet against Gov. Jeb Bush and his One
> Florida plan.
> Until recently One Florida protest rallies and events have drawn a
> predominantly black audience, but a mixed crowd began to emerge
> during last month's statewide legislative hearings.
> Those meetings allowed the first public input into One Florida, a plan
> Bush announced last November and which removes race, ethnicity and
> gender as criteria for state contracts, college admissions and some public
> hiring.
> "A lot of people are dissatisfied in this state about a lot of issues. . . .
> What we all have in common is One Florida," said Adora Obi Nweze of
> Miami, president of the Florida State Conference of the NAACP, a
> march organizer.
> In fact, a newly formed Orlando-area coalition will hold a news
> conference this morning at Catholic Charities on North Semoran
> Boulevard to announce its intention to picket Bush on Tuesday, , when
> he gives the annual State of the State message to the Legislature.
> The ad-hoc group includes Protestants, Jews, Catholics, the National
> Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the AFL-CIO,
> Jesse Jackson's Rainbow/PUSH Coalition and college students.
> It's among the first of the area's majority faith community to stand
> behind affirmative action. Similar coalitions appear to be organizing
> throughout Florida to rally against Bush.
> Thousands of people are expected in Tallahassee to march under the
> banner "A Coalition of Conscience," led by state Rep. Tony Hill,
> D-Jacksonville, and Sen. Kendrick Meek, D-Miami, who in January
> staged a sit-in outside the governor's office.
> The point of the protest is to show diverse support for affirmative action,
> including backing from national leaders, such as Jackson and Martin
> Luther King III, who are expected to address the crowd. In reality,
> people may attend for different reasons.
> Blacks would like to demonstrate that affirmative action has support
> outside of their community. Women want to draw attention to a
> complaint that One Florida overlooked them. College students think
> they're the first victims of the governor's plan. Mainstream churches
> view this as a justice issue. And others may use the demonstration as a
> vehicle to air their gripes against Bush.
> "This gives them a method to speak their piece," said Mary Wilson,
> legislative vice president of the Winter Park chapter of the Florida
> National Organization for Women.
> The Rev. Bryan Fulwider of First Congregational United Church of
> Christ of Winter Park agreed that Tuesday's protest is the impetus for
> his involvement.
> "The churches are just now beginning to look carefully at [affirmative
> action]," Fulwider said. Although some of his 1,000-member
> congregation disagree with his position, he plans to ride to Tallahassee
> with some churchgoers.
> "It's primarily a justice issue -- social justice for those who are
> disenfranchised and marginalized and have the least representation in
> our government," he said.
> The Florida Council of Churches in Orlando pointed out that all of the
> 17 denominations it represents have years-old official statements against
> racism, discrimination and for "affirming the need to level the playing
> field," said the Rev. Fred Morris, executive director.
> Ironically, Bush proposed One Florida in part to forestall a ballot
> initiative by California businessman Ward Connerly that would make
> affirmative action unlawful in Florida.
> Connerly's measure, which goes before the state Supreme Court on
> Monday, would be more sweeping than Bush's plan. It would
> permanently prohibit the use of race, gender or ethnicity in public
> education, employment and contracting in state and local governments.
> To be sure, it's not surprising that staunch Democrats such as the
> AFL-CIO; NOW; the state's legislative black caucus; and U.S. Reps.
> Corrine Brown, D-Jacksonville, and Carrie Meek, D-Miami, have lined
> up against Republican Bush.
> Whatever is motivating people to join the protest, many blacks are
> excited to see more broad-based concern about affirmative action, which
> also affects women of any race or ethnicity, Hispanics and Asians.
> Blacks think a general backing of affirmative action makes it more
> difficult for Bush to dismiss their concerns, and it raises the issue's
> visibility.
> "If we all show up and it's an all-black audience, we need to re-evaluate,"
> said Mandy Carter, campaign manager for FREE -- Floridians
> Representing Equity and Equality, which dates to 1997 and was one of
> the first statewide pro-affirmative action coalitions.
> Despite the growing number of groups that have joined the Coalition of
> Conscience, a few still are absent.
> That includes lackluster support among Hispanics, with the exception of
> small groups and the League of United Latin American Citizens, which
> is rooted in the southwestern United States. In addition, Florida's
> Roman Catholic hierarchy is sitting out Tuesday's event, according to
> the Council of Churches.

More information about the lbo-talk mailing list