The Letter Below Was Sent to All Florida Legislators
The right to assemble and petition our government is intrinsic to the American experience and is a right guaranteed to the people by the United States Constitution. Like the right to vote, protest is one of the tools Americans have always used to create positive change in our country.
The racial violence and protests of 2020, spurred by the senseless murder of George Floyd, marks an inflection point in our nation’s history. Over the past eight months, peaceful protestors have shined a much-needed spotlight on the structural racism and white supremacy that we as a society have failed to address for too long.
Protests for civil rights, social justice, and environmental protection are the foundation of some of our most important laws. Florida Conservation Voters will always stand in solidarity with peaceful protestors who strive to create a more perfect union and healthy communities for everyone.
Therefore, we urge you to oppose HB 1/SB 484. The intent of this legislation is to silence and punish protesters. It could not be more obvious that it is a direct response to the peaceful Black Lives Matter movement. This legislation infringes on Floridians’ civil rights and is an attack on our very democracy.
Much of America’s history is marked by inequality, oppression, and deep-rooted structural racism. When people rise up to demand justice before their lawmakers, government bodies, and fellow Floridians those efforts must be supported, not thwarted. If passed, HB 1/SB 484 would exacerbate racial and social inequities, encourage violent vigilante justice, criminalize peaceful protest, and threaten the safety of Floridians who choose to exercise their First Amendment rights.
We envision a world with clean air and water, thriving natural areas, a sustainable and livable climate, and a just and equitable democracy. We believe that Floridians are only as safe as those members of our community who are most at risk. As an organization that works to engage people in our democracy to protect our environment and healthy communities, we have a responsibility to advocate alongside those who are harmed by racist structures and systems.
Along with our partners and allied organizations across the state, FCV opposes this latest effort to extend protection of the law to those who would perpetuate violence against peaceful protestors exercising their rights under the U.S. Constitution.
Please oppose HB 1/SB 484.
Florida Conservation Voters