Jacksonville, FL: Jacksonville marches for victims of white supremacist terror, demand justice and action
Jacksonville, FL – On Monday, August 28, over 1000 community members and organizers hit the streets of Jacksonville to fight back against white supremacy and racially motivated hate crimes in the city. This emergency call to action arose after the murder of three Black Jacksonville residents – Angela Michelle Carr, Jerrald De’Shaun Gallion, and Anolt Joseph Laguerre Jr. – at the hands of a 21-year-old white supremacist on Saturday, August 26 at a Dollar General store.
A coalition of organizations such as Jacksonville Community Action Committee (JCAC) which is an affiliate of the National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression (NAARPR), UNF Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), Take ‘Em Down Jax, Jax Urban League Young Professionals, Florida Rising, Florida For All, Black Voters Matter, and the Florida AFL CIO gathered to speak out and march the streets of Jacksonville. State Representative Angie Nixon also spoke, along with Florida Democratic Party Chair and Agricultural Commissioner Nikki Fried. Other local city council persons also were in attendance.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the first occurrence of white supremacist terror in Jacksonville. August 27 marked 63 years since Axe-Handle Saturday. That day began in 1960 as a peaceful demonstration, led by Black organizers, to protest white-only counters in Jacksonville's downtown restaurants. As the Black organizers conducted sit-ins at downtown restaurants to fight back against segregation, they were faced with an attack of white mobs holding axe handles and bats as a reaction to the sit-ins. The white mobs attacked the Black organizers and anyone Black in the area, this became one of the most vicious and heinous racially motivated crimes in the city of Jacksonville.
After more than 60 years, Jacksonville is still facing acts and crimes of white supremacy. But community members vowed to not back down and will fight back! Jacksonville Community Action Committee ensured that the people have the power to say no to nazis and no to white supremacists.
The coalition of organizations and different speakers came up to denounce these hate crimes and uplift the people’s voices. Within these Representative Angie Nixon spoke out against Governor Ron DeSantis and his racist legislation such as eliminating Advanced Placement African American History, erasing books on Black struggles, banning diversity, equity and inclusion initiative programs in public universities, and much more.
Neal Jefferson with JCAC demonized DeSantis' recent legislation against Black people in Florida, “DeSantis’ legislation has served as a pathway for white supremacists to feel encouraged to commit acts of violence towards our people.” He continued, “What occurred on Saturday was a modern-day lynching for us Black folks.” Neal urged people to hold DeSantis and state officials accountable for their actions – emphasizing that the people have the power to stop and end these acts of terror.
The crowds marched the streets of Jacksonville chanting “Black lives matter!” and declaring that Ron DeSantis has no place as the governor of Florida. As Mike Sampson, lead community organizer of JCAC, stated, “The rhetoric we’ve seen from this governor and state leadership – folks are angry. It’s been a war on us and a war on our community.”
The people of Jacksonville, and of Florida, will not allow Ron DeSantis’ war on Black and oppressed people. Protesters uplifted demands for police accountability through a Public Safety Committee. Speakers spoke about the negligence of the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office in stopping white supremacists in the city and demanded more action be taken. They also demanded the taking down of the remaining Confederate monument in Springfield Park, formerly Confederate Park, along with organizers demanding economic justice for the African Americans.