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Statewide campaign: Mobilize Black voters for 2024 elections to overturn 'extremist legislation'

People carry signs that say "Teach No Lies" outside.
Lynne Sladky
People carry signs during the "Teach No Lies" march to the School Board of Miami-Dade County to protest Florida's new standards for teaching Black history, which came under intense criticism for what they say about slavery, Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2023, in Miami.

A statewide group seeking to boost the power of almost 2 million Black voters in Florida is kicking off an ambitious voter education campaign to “combat extremist legislation in the state and ensure Black Floridians' voices are heard” in November’s elections.

Equal Ground will launch a tour to promote its effort on Saturday, April 20, in Pinellas County with additional stops in Orange, Hillsborough and Lee counties. The group will visit 11 counties, including Miami-Dade.

The group will call attention to what they describe as “wide-reaching attacks on communities of color” by the Republican-majority Florida Legislature, from censoring African-American history course in public schools to new voting laws they say led to hundreds of thousands of Black voters being removed from the rolls. They also want to educate voters about upcoming ballot issues that include protecting abortion rights and legalizing recreational marijuana.

“The best way to stop attacks on our civil rights is to vote, “ said Genesis Robinson, interim executive director of Equal Ground, in a statement on Thursday. “Our mission — building Black political power in Florida — means taking on the lawmakers that wish to erase our history and silence Black communities head-on at the ballot box.

Equal Ground Interim Executive Director Genesis Robinson
Equal Ground
Equal Ground Interim Executive Director Genesis Robinson

"When voters are educated, they are activated. And we need to bring that engagement to the polls in November to hold policymakers from the top of the ticket down accountable for the harm they’ve caused the Black community.”

Last week, Equal Ground criticized Gov. DeSantis for signing a bill into law that effectively bans civilian oversight of police departments, and only allows police to investigate and hold themselves accountable for any potential wrongdoing.

“As a social justice organization committed to protecting the rights of Black Floridians, we know that civilian review boards are often the last line of defense for Black people to hold rogue law enforcement officials accountable for misconduct,” Robinson said in a separate statement. “Disbanding police review boards contradicts the ongoing efforts to reform policing practices and address systemic issues within law enforcement.”

The latest statewide voter registration numbers show Blacks represent about 13% of all registered Florida voters and are mostly Democrat.

Numbering 1.7 million voters, they trail the state’s 2.4 million Hispanic voters and 8.3 million white voters. Nearly 1.3 million Blacks, about two in three, are registered as Democrats. Less than 76,000 are registered as Republicans and about 336,000 are NPA’s (No Party Affiliation).

In 2020, President Biden collected a large majority of Black voters, 89%, while Republican Donald Trump got 11%, according to exit polls.


Equal Ground on Thursday released the list of counties for its statewide voter education and mobilization tour:

Pinellas County (St. Petersburg)- Saturday, April 20, 2024
Orange County (Orlando) - Monday, April 22, 2024
Orange County (Sanford) - Monday, April 29, 2024
Hillsborough County (Tampa) - Thursday, May 9, 2024
Lee County - (Fort Myers) - Saturday, May 25, 2024
Marion County (Ocala) - TBA
Escambia County - TBA
Santa Rosa County - TBA
Okaloosa County - TBA
Volusia County (Daytona Beach) - TBA
Miami-Dade County - TBA
Polk County - TBA

Sergio Bustos is WLRN's Vice President for News. He's been an editor at the Miami Herald and POLITICO Florida. Most recently, Bustos was Enterprise/Politics Editor for the USA Today Network-Florida’s 18 newsrooms. Reach him at sbustos@wlrnnews.org
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