Leaders to convene in Florida to combat anti-Black hate and suppression of freedoms

Catch an all-new episode of “The Hill with April Ryan” every Thursday on theGrio.com and theGrio’s social media platforms.

On this week’s edition of “The Hill With April Ryan,” theGrio’s Washington Bureau Chief and White House Correspondent, April D. Ryan, looks at efforts to combat anti-Black hate in Florida following the mass shooting of three Black Americans on Aug. 26.

Civil rights leaders are converging in Jacksonville to push back against the rise of hate and white extremist violence.

Dollar General Jacksonville shooting
JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA – AUGUST 27: People walk past the Dollar General store where three people were shot and killed the day before on August 27, 2023 in Jacksonville, Florida. Police say that the attack by a gunman on Black customers at the store that killed three is being investigated as a hate crime. (Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images)

Melanie Campbell, president and CEO of Coalition for Black Civic Participation, is launching the   “Power of the Ballot” tour in October. Advocates will participate in door-to-door engagement in the Sunshine State, where racial tensions have been exacerbated amid actions taken by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, including banning Black history courses and books by Black authors.

John C. Yang, president and executive director of Asians Americans Advancing Justice, spoke to theGrio about an effort raised by civil rights leaders during a meeting with President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris. 

The leaders asked the administration to bring last year’s United We Stand anti-hate summit, which was held at the White House, to Jacksonville, Florida. Yang said the choice of location is not just about the Jacksonville shooting but “about the racist policies we have seen” in Florida. 

No date has been set for the anticipated summit. It is not certain that the president will attend.

“The Hill” also discusses the latest sentencing of an Afro-Cuban member of the Proud Boys and his involvement in the Jan. 6 insurrection.

Henry “Enrique” Tarrio received the longest sentence thus far, with 22 years in prison. It is the harshest penalty of any of the insurrectionists charged and sentenced for the violent 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol building.

ORLANDO, FLORIDA – FEBRUARY 27: Enrique Tarrio, leader of the Proud Boys, stands outside of the Hyatt Regency where the Conservative Political Action Conference is being held on February 27, 2021 in Orlando, Florida. Begun in 1974, CPAC brings together conservative organizations, activists, and world leaders to discuss issues important to them. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

And as COVID-19 cases climb with some high-profile names like first lady Jill Biden contracting the virus, Ryan also looks at the latest updates and its impact on Black America. 

Dr. Melissa Clark, president and CEO of the BHE Group and co-founder of Black Coalition Against COVID-19, told theGrio that Black communities often see the highest number of COVID-19 cases during surges like the current outbreak. 

“During surges, people of color, specifically Black people, are getting COVID, so it’s not over,” said Clark. “We still must be vigilant, especially if we’re in a high-risk group.”

TheGrio also caught up with Dr. Anthony Fauci, former chief medical advisor to President Joe Biden, about masking and concerns over the timing of a new vaccine coming this month. Dr. Fauci affirmed as the cases rise, particularly in high-risk areas, Americans should consider masking up. 

“I’m not talking about mandating anything,” he said, adding, “You should consider if the CDC begins to recommend in certain regions that masks be worn.”

The former director of the National Institutes of Health acknowledged the vulnerabilities by age and condition should determine if you should wear a mask. 

Catch an all-new episode of “The Hill with April Ryan” every Thursday on theGrio.com and theGrio’s social media platforms.

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