In a poignant display of solidarity, Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis graced a prayer vigil in Jacksonville on a solemn Sunday. The gathering aimed to remember the heart-wrenching loss of three black lives at a Dollar General store, a tragedy believed to be motivated by racial animosity.
Turning his attention to Democratic Councilmember Ju’Coby Pittman, DeSantis’s voice carried assurance as he said, “Councilwoman, I gotcha, don’t worry about it.” His words echoed a resolute promise to secure the vulnerable, particularly Edward Waters College, against any impending threats. The room was a canvas painted with a mix of applause, a symphony of support, and a discordant chord of dissent as a handful vocalized their protest.
Empowered by the moment, Pittman seized the microphone with determination, her words a balm for division. “Let me tell, we putting parties aside, because it ain’t about parties today,” she declared, an anthem to unity that reverberated through the audience. “A bullet don’t know a party. So, don’t get me started.”
Unfazed by discord, she continued, “If the governor wanted to come here, and he bringing gifts to my community, y’all know I’m taking the gifts, because we’ve been through enough already.” Her plea was a chorus of shared pain and longing for peace, compelling even the dissenting voices to pause. “Now y’all be quiet just a minute and let the governor say what he gonna say.”
DeSantis reclaimed the narrative, his words etched with resolve and compassion. The governor revealed the proactive measures his office had taken, earmarking funds to fortify security in the area and lend support to grieving families. “We are not going to let people be targeted based on their race,” his proclamation was unwavering. “We are going to stand up and we are going to do what we need to do to make sure that evil does not triumph in the state of Florida.”
He emphasized that his administration had stood as a guardian for Jewish schools against the darkness of anti-Semitism. With a sense of symmetry, he pledged a parallel guardianship for historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), encapsulating the event in a tapestry of shared responsibility against the shadows of hatred and violence.