By Florida House Representative Geraldine F. Thompson
History is made every day. This February, FCV is celebrating Black History in Florida and the change-makers that are making an impact in our state today. Legislative leaders like Rep. Thompson are moving Florida forward towards a smarter, more resilient future.
I am State Representative Geraldine F. Thompson, a member of the Democratic Party representing Florida House District 44. I am passionate about human rights, voter participation, African American history and seeing the diversity of Florida reflected at all levels of government and business operations.
In 2017, I visited South Africa and gripped the bars as I stood in front of the cell where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for decades. I viewed the cot in his cell and the bucket he used. I was awed by the life-long commitment he made to the quest for social justice and I was inspired to return to the Florida Legislature to continue my fight to bring about social change.
I admire and respect Representative Gwendolyn Sawyer Cherry, the first African American woman elected to the Florida Legislature. When she began her work in Tallahassee in 1970, I came with her as her Executive Secretary working alongside John Marks, who served as her Legislative Aide. She was an African American female serving in a white-male dominated legislative body in the South where she managed to navigate waters in uncharted territory and was effective.
Voter participation in Florida is low. If voters want to bring about change in their communities, they must screen candidates to identify those who hold similar views and will address issues they deem important. Then, voters must mobilize to elect candidates who share their perspectives.