This week on Surly Voices, hosts Liz and Donna tackle the modern movements of civil rights, both within the state of Florida and outside. From the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill to the anniversary of Bloody Sunday, the fight for civil rights is far from over.
Listen to the full episode here:
Bloody Sunday Anniversary
This past weekend marked the anniversary of Bloody Sunday in Selma, Alabama. On March 7, 1965, around 600 civil rights activists began a march from Selma, Alabama to the city of Montgomery. However, they were stopped only six blocks into their march when they were attacked by white law enforcement officers.
This year, a challenge was proposed for the anniversary: take soil from the sites of lynchings, and bring it to the Legacy Museum in Montgomery. Surly Feminist and co-host Donna attended this event alongside other members of the Tampa community.
She described the harrowing, deeply emotional experience of her exploration through the Legacy Museum and its memorial. The images of children sold into slavery, the boxes representing the African-Americans who were hanged for the crime of existing. The stories of museum-goers finding the names of their family members on the memorial, seeing that their brothers and sisters were killed.
“This museum felt more like a tomb,” Donna said. “And knowing that Sandra Bland died alone in her cell of god knows how, and that George Floyd died calling for his mama, and that Eric Garner was literally crushed to death… This is an ongoing crime in America.”
As part of the pilgrimage, Donna also stopped in Tallahassee to show support for the legislators that were fighting against the oppressive bills. Though they all have passed and will move to the desk of Gov. Ron DeSantis, that doesn’t mean that the fight is over. Now, it’s about meeting the voters on their level and allowing them to speak. Have dialogue on why they hate the ‘other’ group. Raise the question of what their African-American, LGBTQ+, or ‘different’ neighbor has done to them. And is their hatred really worth it?
“Remember, civil rights aren’t just about black folks. White people have civil rights, gay people have civil rights, and we gotta rein this thing in,” Donna concluded.
‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill passes
The infamous ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill recently passed through the Florida legislature and will head to the desk of Governor Ron DeSantis soon. While DeSantis has continually vowed to sign the bill into law as part of his ‘anti-woke’ campaign, the backlash has been significant. However, those fighting back haven’t always been on the side of the LGBTQ+ community. The Walt Disney Company had been noticeably silent on the issue, though they had quietly backed politicians that supported the bill. Then, after the passage of the bill, CEO Bob Chapek hurriedly arranged a meeting with DeSantis to voice the company’s opposition. To many, these moves are too little and come too late; the damage that this bill has caused is already massive.
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