Shaun King: This Impacts The Nation, Not Just Florida

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Good Morning Everybody!

Today is election day in Florida. Now I know that many of you listening are not in Florida, but I have to break down why what happens there today matters for all of us. Florida is not only one of the most populated states in the nation, more African Americans call it home than almost any other state in the nation.

For better or worse, what happens in Florida sets the tone for much of the South, and even for the nation. No single state in the nation has banned more Black from voting than Florida. No single state in the nation has done more to protect the murderers of Black folk, be it Trayvon Martin or Markeis McGlockton, than Florida – going so far as to creating a racist law called “Stand Your Ground” – that was really created for white folk to be able to use violence as they please.

And Florida is, and always has been, a swing state in every presidential election. It’s hard to become President without it.

And today, our friend and brother Andrew Gillum is running for the Democratic nomination for Governor. 16 months ago Andrew was in 5th place in this race. People were even asking and wondering out loud why a young Black man would even attempt to run for Governor of Florida. 12 months ago he was in 4th place in this race and people were asking him to drop out and get more experience. Never mind the fact that he’s the Mayor of Tallahassee and has been in government virtually his entire adult life. 6 months ago he rose up to 3rd place and was told that’s as far as he would ever get.

Yesterday, in the final poll of the race, Andrew surged all the way to 2nd place, and is now just a few percentage points out of first. And if he wins, he will be the first Black man or woman ever to be nominated for Governor by a major party in Florida. And here’s what I need you to understand – we’re not just supporting Andrew because he’s Black, but no candidate has better policies or better plans – that will do more to lift and empower Black folk than Andrew.

But if he’s going to win, and he can, it’s going to take every one of our Florida listeners voting, it’s going to take you texting and emailing and Facebooking your friends. It’s going to take you taking people to the polls, because here’s what I know that nobody is talking about….

That new poll that has Andrew in 2nd place – that poll was a poll of people using landlines only. No cellphones were even used.

I literally haven’t had a landline since 2002. The majority of households under 45 don’t have a landline. And Andrew has huge youth and young adult support. I believe Andrew’s in first place, but we have to prove it. We have to show up and vote like our lives depend on it – and they do.

Listen –when we organize, we win. I’ll be following this race closely all day, and will be tweeting links to help you find your polling location and for you to report any problems you may be having.

And I want to close by thanking so many of you who participated in our back to school shoe drive for the city of Chicago this weekend. We gave away nearly 15,000 brand new shoes to thousands and thousands of families from all over Chicago on Sunday and we think it may very well have been the largest shoe giveaway of its kind – ever.

And we did this just a few weeks after the City of Chicago staged a truck full of shoes and parked it right in the middle of the hood – only to arrest anybody who came up to take a pair. It was one of the most disgusting things I’d ever seen. As Chicago continues to deal with so much violence, this is the type of stuff their city put time and resources into.

That’s why we responded with trucks and trucks full of free shoes – and it was a beautiful thing. We had every type of shoe, every style, every brand, every size, and almost all of them were bought by generous donors from across the country and sent directly to Chicago. So thank all of you who gave and thank all of you who supported in other ways. We could not have done this without you.

And I’ll close with this thought. Again, when we organize we win. When we show up at the polls, we win. When we show up in our communities, we win. We have to take our destiny into our own hands. Sometimes we have to ask and demand other people do right by us, and we have that right, but we’re in an age where we have the ability to take power and do right by ourselves. We just have to use it.

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Shaun King: This Impacts The Nation, Not Just Florida was originally published on blackamericaweb.com

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