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Tallahassee rallies against HB1

By Delilah Pierre

Tallahassee, FL – Around 50 people gathered at the Florida State Capitol building, February 20, to protest the ‘combating public disorder bill,’ otherwise known as HB1/SB484. Speakers from organizations all over Tallahassee expressed their dissent and demanded state senators and representatives oppose the bill.

“The people are tired of marching while our cries go unheard. The people realize that in order to change the system, we must destroy the system,” said Mutaquee Akbar, president of the NAACP.

Other speakers emphasized previous protests that would have been deemed criminal or illegal due to this bill. Speaker Oz Hernandez, the corresponding secretary for the Leon County Democrats, spoke of his first protest, which was a walkout for Trayvon Martin, a Black youth murdered by George Zimmerman in 2012. “Instead of pushing for equity, our politicians push for the limitation of our rights. House Bill 1 is not bringing anything new to the table that’s going to help the current situation,” said Hernandez.

Others agreed that HB1/SB484 were especially offensive considering the high rate of unemployment, lack of healthcare and failing facilities of Florida. Trish Brown, outreach coordinator, talked about the bill’s hypocritical and unconstitutional stance, and stated, “We’re still fighting for our freedom. There’s so many issues we should be focusing on such as rent control, utilities, debt, CPAC and racial equality but yet our leaders focused on fast-tracking this bill.”

After the speakers were done, individuals from the crowd had an opportunity to speak with. Many emphasized how during the house subcommittee for this bill on January 27, politicians gave the public only one minute to talk.

The event was organized by the Tallahassee Community Action Committee. Organizers plan to meet at 400 S. Monroe Street (the Florida Historic Capitol Museum) on March 2 at 2 p.m. to launch a statewide protest against the bill.

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