For Immediate Release:
August 27, 2023
Contact: Shannon Craig Straw, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-674-5921
Jacksonville — Leaders with Faith in Florida are grieving with the nation following the shooting in Jacksonville, Florida. The racist attacker took the lives of three Black people today in a Dollar General, after first attempting to access Edward Waters University, a historically Black university. Although Florida Governor Ron DeSantis condemned the shooting in a statement, local clergy note that, to-date, his actions have not met his words as he’s pursued policies that allow easy access to firearms and that stoke racial hatred as he seeks to whitewash history.
“The shooting in Jacksonville is a tragedy, and our hearts are with the families of those impacted. It is clear that the shooter had racist intentions, targeting Black people for no other reason than the color of their skin. As we wrestle with hate here in the state of Florida on legislative and personal levels, the shooting is indicative of what happens when identities are not a part of the discussion,” said the Rev. Rhonda Thomas, executive director of Faith in Florida. “Black children and teens in this state are again forced to grapple with the violent reality of white supremacy, but in Governor DeSantis’ Florida, students are not allowed to learn the truth of what happened. His offering of thoughts and prayers ring hollow as his policy decisions have led to the conditions that allowed the shooting to occur.”
“Black people being targeted for the color of their skin has a deep history in Florida and across the country, unfortunately. We grieve alongside the people who, in the faces of these victims, see their loved ones,” said the Rev. Alvin Herring, executive director of Faith in Action, a national faith-based community organizing network that includes Faith in Florida. “Today’s news serves as a reminder of the importance of calling out white supremacy as what it is– an evil that pits God’s children against one another. The DeSantis administration’s policies are continuing to exacerbate this issue through whitewashing history and erasing the rich diversity of Floridians.”
Celebrating its 50th anniversary, Faith in Action is the largest grassroots, faith-based organizing network in the United States. The nonpartisan organization works with 1,000 religious congregations in more than 200 cities and towns through its 46 local and state federations. For more information, visit www.faithinaction.org.
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