Stew Lilker’s

Columbia County Observer

Real news from Florida for working families since 2007


Florida Governor Ron DeSantis & His Legislative Supermajority Bring A New Jim Crow To Florida

Historical Marker of Plessy v Ferguson marking the spot where Homer Plessy was removed from the train.
Photo: Cajun Scrambler | Columbia County Observer graphic

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’s unprecedented sprint to autocracy, in lockstep with the 2023 Florida legislature’s supermajority, has been formally unleashed. The supermajority and DeSantis are racists, misogynists, sexists, anti-people of color, homophobic, anti-immigrants, anti-public education, anti-free speech... These legislators and the governor closed the worst session in Florida's history on May 5. The repercussions are just being identified and felt.

Many egregious, cruel, and unconstitutional bills were signed into law that shattered families, bullied the most vulnerable populations, and took vengeance out on entities or groups that dared oppose DeSantis's white male supremacist ideology. DeSantis is ushering in a new era of Jim Crow.

The New Jim Crow

Voter Suppression: Instead of making the fundamental constitutional right of voting easily accessible to all citizens, DeSantis championed laws that hinder voters from their right to vote by adding confusion, chaos, contradictions, or fear. DeSantis and the Legislative majority don’t want the young or people of color to vote.

Gerrymandering and adding constraints and risks on third-party organizations that reach out to marginalized communities make voting more difficult for everyone, especially people and communities of color.

Public Education

All levels of education, from K-12 to public universities, have been severely attacked.

New laws defund or eliminate diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging programs, departments, majors, and classes.

Majors and classes in gender, race, and AP African American Studies have been modified or eliminated.

College Boards of Trustees and University Administrators have been fired or made to resign and replaced by DeSantis sycophants.

New laws prevent students from discussing or learning about the LGBTQIA+ communities through 12th grade. Math books are being rejected, as well as many other textbooks for reference to an LBGTQ+ person.

On top of Florida’s severe shortage of teachers, these new laws and policies are forcing more teachers to leave teaching not only because of their low pay and benefits (among the lowest in the U.S.) but also due to the risks associated with teaching – fines, misdemeanors, and felonies.


The $8,500 per student school voucher expansion is estimated to cost Florida public schools $4B dollars. This horrendous expansion of school vouchers segregates schools.

Voucher expansion flies in the face of separation of church and state because vouchers are going to religious schools.

While vouchers can be used to enroll children in private or religious schools, the $8,500 voucher may mislead families who think they are doing right by placing their children in private or religious schools only to find they cannot afford other expenses like the balance of tuition, transportation, books, sports, uniforms, etc.

Private, religious and most charter schools lack accountability for curriculum, standards, teacher education, training, and certifications. They can expel students and go out of business, and the money does not follow students to return to public schools.

Banning Books

Massive book banning in Florida is not a hoax. Book banning drives ignorance. DeSantis seems to want an ignorant populous.

DeSantis mandated that all school textbooks and books need to be approved by ‘reading specialists’ for age appropriateness and content that is not WOKE. Books are being removed if one person objects – even if not a parent.

Contrary to DeSantis' derogatory meaning of Woke, the real meaning of Woke is to understand the histories of injustices and current injustices to move forward to fixing them. It is something we should all aspire to know and act on.

Laws and policies on race, sexuality, gender identity, and restrictions on school library material have been signed into law.

Caldwell-Stone, director of the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom, said, “It’s disingenuous to say that the state’s not responsible when they’ve created an environment of fear, of civil liability, loss of jobs, loss of teaching licenses, if a line is crossed.” Teachers have already been fired, and licenses have already been revoked.

The Legal System

A new Florida law states that only 8 of 12 jurors are now required to apply the death penalty in capital cases. The judge can override the jury’s sentence if they want the death penalty.

This action discriminates against Blacks and may put more to death.

6-Week Abortion Ban

This law virtually bans abortion in Florida. Most women do not know that they are pregnant in 6 weeks and would not have time to complete the state’s requirements to get an abortion. We have already seen the sad consequences for several women carrying unviable fetuses.

The severe abortion bans especially disadvantages lower economic and women of color communities.

Florida NOW Call for Action

DeSantis and his Administration have gone beyond any point of reason. By imposing their blatant, racist, misogynistic, perverted sense of ‘freedom’ agenda on Florida, they are hurting every Floridian socially, economically, and politically.

This agenda compares to the Jim Crow era our country suffered after Reconstruction and to segregation, which is returning covertly and unjustly.

We must educate everyone about the deleterious direction our democracy is heading at the expense of women, people of color, LGBTQ+, immigrants seeking asylum, etc.

Florida NOW will be looking to support justice in all these intersectional areas.”

Debbie Deland is president of Florida Now. Florida NOW’s (National Organization of Women) purpose is to take action through intersectional grassroots activism to promote feminist ideals, lead societal change, eliminate discrimination, and achieve and protect the equal rights of all women and girls.

Comments  (to add a comment go here) 

Meeting Calendar
No need to be confused - Find links to agendas and where your participation is welcome.

Make a comment • click here •
All comments are displayed at the end of the article and are moderated.