The Tallahassee Chapter of the National Action Network hosted a rally to advocate and fight for diversity, equity, and inclusion in Florida schools.
The rally began at Bethel Missionary Baptists Church and shortly after, protestors marched to the old state capitol.
For some, African American courses are intimidating, but father and educator, Bruce Strouble, feels it is a necessity to continue teaching future generations Black history.
“I’m glad there’s a lot of people here with us today because we don’t want these options for education removed and eliminated for our children,” Strouble said. “This is the next generation of Black and Floridian children and it’s important that they know about the history of this country.”
In response to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ proposal to eliminate AP African American studies in Florida schools, the rally included many different activists and community leaders from around the state of Florida in attendance. Keynote speaker, Reverend Al Sharpton gave a few encouraging words during the rally.
“We will stand together, we will march together, we will fight together. We won’t turn back, and we won’t go down without a fight, but it doesn’t take one of us, it takes all of us,” Sharpton said.
The African American studies course is currently in a two-year pilot program in 60 high schools nationwide, with plans to expand it to hundreds more schools in the fall.
Florida and at least 17 other states have laws or policies restricting the teaching of race. The restrictions include making sure that teachers aren’t suggesting that the U.S. is a racist country or teaching any form of critical race theory.
Florida A&M NAACP President Sydney Aitcheson spoke about how the bill personally affects her.
“FAMU allowed me to learn more about my people’s roots and history. To find out that is slowly being taken away from me is truly heartbreaking. Change starts with everybody here fighting for justice all as one.” Aitcheson said.
Protesters are hoping the rally would serve as a wake-up call to both local and state governments about the history of African American culture in the state of Florida.
The Tallahassee Chapter of National Action Network’s next step is to continue fighting for their voices to be heard and urge lawmakers to not eliminate African American studies in schools.