An open letter to Gov. Ron DeSantis

Rev. RB Holmes

April 24, 2023

 Honorable Ron DeSantis

 Governor, State of Florida

 Dear Governor DeSantis: 

I truly pray that this letter finds you and your beloved family in good health and experiencing the peace of God. Governor, the State of Florida is in a crisis and we are witnessing some troubling times that many of us haven’t seen in modern times. Sir, I hope you will realize that your leadership is hurting and harming many Floridians. Governor, you are the governor of all Floridians, not simply the ones who may agree with your policies or positions.

Governor DeSantis, I know you proudly declare that “Florida is the place where woke comes to die!” Sir, your draconian and damaging policies have awakened many of us. Your policies are extremely divisive and discouraging. I know that you were successful, to some degree, of using the misguided process of gerrymandering to give you the super majority in the legislature. However, God is watching. Please sir, refrain from using your power to trample over the freedom of so many people. 

 Your ban on books is shocking.

 Your six weeks abortion bill is appalling.

 Your bill to allow citizens to have guns without a permit, no training and no background check is dangerous. 

 Your overreaching and usurping of local governance is unprecedented. 

 Your attack on Disney World is deplorable. 

Mr. Governor, there are two significant matters to which I need your response. The Department of Education’s attempts to render the African American History Task Force as irrelevant is unacceptable. I understand you have a serious problem with the teaching of black history.

 Sir, for over three decades there is a law in this state that requires the teaching of African American history in all sixty-seven counties. 

  1. Your Department of Education has been woefully derelict in enforcing this mandate. I am asking you to enforce this order. 
  2. In 2010, the Florida Legislature unanimously passed an historic Civil Rights Hall of Fame bill. Former Senator Tony Hill and former Representative Alan Williams were sponsors of this bill. The Reverend Joseph T. Wright, pastor of Jerusalem Missionary Baptist Church in Tallahassee led the effort to get this bill signed. It was former Governor Charlie Crist who signed this Civil Rights Hall of Fame initiative into law. The first induction ceremony was held February 29, 2012. 

The Human Rights Commission was given the extraordinary task of selecting nominees for the Governor to select to be placed in the Civil Rights Hall of Fame. The Florida Civil Rights Hall of Fame honors those Floridians who have made significant contributions to the state as leaders in the struggle for equality and justice for all persons. Members of this distinguished Hall represent those who have fought to protect, serve and advocate for their fellow citizens. These honorees’ names and pictures are proudly displayed on the first floor of the Capitol. Governor Crist and Governor Rick Scott carried out this legislative mandate annually. Governor DeSantis, since your 2019 recommendations, you haven’t received or asked for any nominees to be placed in Florida’s Civil Rights Hall of Fame. The question is “Why Governor?” Unfortunately, you have demonstrated a pattern of intolerance and insensitivity toward minorities and other groups who disagree with your policies.

Sir, a coalition of faith leaders is asking to meet with you immediately to seek some answers in reference to the ineptness of the Department of Education to ensure the teaching of African American history in our schools and to address your administration’s exclusion of the annual selection of great civil rights heroes to be placed in the Florida Civil Rights Hall of Fame. 

I pray you will read this missive in the spirit that it has been written. God bless.

Yours truly, Reverend Dr. RB Holmes, Jr., Pastor Bethel Missionary Baptist Church President, Tallahassee Chapter of the National Action Network


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