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

Florida’s Black community has had it with Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Following the tragic shooting at a Jacksonville Dollar General, some Black people living in the state are opening up about how DeSantis’ policies have opened the floodgates for racism, NBC News reports. DeSantis made an unscheduled appearance during a prayer vigil on Aug. 27 in the Grand Park neighborhood, and many attendees weren’t pleased.

Met with “boos,” Jacksonville City Councilwoman Ju’Coby Pittman (D-FL) had to step in to quiet them down; however, Pittman made it clear in a CNN interview that she silenced the crowd because the vigil wasn’t about him, it was about the victims. “That vigil was not about the governor,” Pittman said. “My concern was about the families. It was not a political ploy for me and my community…it was focusing on the families that was there and the hatred that came to their community.”

During his speech, DeSantis called the gunman a “scumbag,” but local pastor Jeffrey Rumlin, who spoke directly after, redirected his ideology. “At the end of the day, respectfully, governor, he was not a scumbag,” Rumlin said. “He was a racist.”

Vigil attendees were not shy about voicing how they felt about him to the presidential candidate. “You’re not welcome here,” one person shouted, while another said, “Your policies caused this,” according to NPR.

DeSantis has mandated numerous policies against African Americans in the state, including erasing DEI initiatives, downplaying African American history courses, and redrawing maps erasing northern Florida’s only Black-performing congressional seat—including the city of Jacksonville. His policies led to a travel ban issued by the NAACP in May 2023.

State legislators like Sen. Shevrin Jones, a Black Democrat representing Miami, say his policies are the root of racially motivated events like the one that took the lives of three innocent people. “How much can we allow the governor to keep his foot on our neck and not say anything?” Jones said. “This is the result of that stuff. It’s not only the result, but it gives individuals who committed this act a hall pass to make it seem like it’s OK.”