dollar general, florida, Jacksonville, donate, 2.5M

Dollar General Donates $2.5 Million In Jacksonville Relief Effort Following Racist Killings

Dollar General announced that it would donate $2.5 million to aid the relief efforts in Jacksonville, Florida, in response to the tragic shooting incident on Aug. 26 at one of its locations.

In a racially motivated attack, a white gunman named Ryan Christopher Palmeter killed three people at the store. The 21-year-old attacker used an assault rifle painted with a swastika to kill Angela Michelle Carr, A.J. Laguerre, and Jerrald Gallion.

In a press release on the company website, Dollar General said two nonprofits, including the First Coast Relief Fund, will receive a $500,000 donation. The donation to the First Coast fund will support the Jacksonville community immediately and in the long term. The company also announced that it would be pledging $1 million toward its Employee Assistance Foundation, which provides employees of the company with assistance in their times of need.

Dollar General’s CEO, Jeff Owen, stressed the company is focused on helping heal the Jacksonville community.

“The entire DG family continues to mourn the senseless, hate-driven loss of life that took place last weekend,” Owen explained. “Our focus continues to be on supporting the victims’ families, our employees, and their loved ones, alongside how we can best support and stand with the greater Jacksonville community. The actions we are taking are in an effort to begin to heal together.”

Dollar General is also moving forward with plans to completely remodel the Jacksonville store in late September or early October and has also donated $50,000 to Jacksonville area food banks to help alleviate food insecurity locally.

Dollar General ended the press release by pledging to keep the public informed of its future commitments to its Jacksonville store as it deems necessary. 

Not all condolences for the community were well received.

Community members let Gov. Ron DeSantis know that he was unwelcome by booing the Republican presidential candidate when he attempted to offer his condolences to the families of the three victims at a prayer vigil on Aug. 27.

As BET reported, Black community leaders have been critical of DeSantis, contending that his policy decisions may have contributed to fostering an environment in the state conducive to the viewpoints expressed by individuals like Palmetter. Florida politicians have criticized DeSantis for promoting policies that often affect Black and LGBTQ+ people living in Florida. 

In Orlando, there were reports of Neo-Nazis marching and yelling slurs. According to Rolling Stone, a few days before the march, the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism warned about it in a community advisory spread via email.

“Two extremist groups, the Goyim Defense League (GDL) and Blood Tribe (BT), are planning to gather in Florida in September 2023 for a joint, public demonstration(s) they are calling the ‘March of the Redshirts,” the email read.

Former Florida House of Representatives member Anna V. Eskamani shared a video of the march on X, formerly Twitter, depicting the hate group shouting, “We are everywhere!” before yelling “Heil Hitler” while they performed a Nazi salute.

RELATED CONTENT: The Black Community’s True Feelings About DeSantis Explode During Jacksonville Vigil