Racial Justice Groups Denounce Gov. Scott’s Power-Grab - Advancement Project - Advancement Project

Racial Justice Groups Denounce Gov. Scott’s Power-Grab

In Amicus Brief, Racial Justice Organizations Decry Scott’s Move as Effort to Criminalize Communities of Color

Washington – In response to Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s attack against Florida State Attorney Aramis Ayala and the will of the Floridians who elected her, community organizations decried Scott’s overreach and his efforts to criminalize communities of color. Following a media conference call this morning, the organizations also released an amicus brief they filed in the Florida Supreme Court today denouncing Scott’s effort to impede prosecution reform and address Florida’s criminal justice crisis.

Organizations signing on to the amicus brief released the following statements:

Judith Browne Dianis, Executive Director, Advancement Project’s National Office:

“Florida’s criminal justice system is one of the country’s worst – ranked 10th in the country for its state imprisonment rate. The people of Florida are pushing for change and electing Aramis Ayala State Attorney in Orange and Osceola counties was one of those changes. Black and Latino voters were especially seeking a reform agenda. Governor Scott has overstepped his authority, removing her from 23 cases and substituting his political leanings for the will of the voters. The right to vote for representatives of choice is fundamental. Scott’s power grab undermines our democracy and threatens reforms necessary to fix the broken criminal justice system.”

Francesca Menes, Florida Immigrant Coalition, Director of Policy and Advocacy:

“In Central Florida and beyond, we have seen an unacceptable increase in criminalization practices. Whether it’s executive orders that raid our communities or criminalizing practices that destroy futures, Floridians of all backgrounds are standing firm to send a message. Our people elected who we wanted and we will not tolerate the governor imposing his will over the voices of the people.”

Chardonnay Singleton, Dream Defenders:

“Since the murder of Trayvon Martin, the voters in Florida have sought to create an environment in which the criminal system serves them and not special interests. That is reflected in the election of Aramis Ayala. Our communities strive to create a criminal justice system that is more human, more reflective of our communities and more transformative. Governor Scott’s actions are an attempt to block these efforts.”

Miles Murain, Jr., Let Your Voice Be Heard:

“Let Your Voice Be Heard worked to turn out the vote in 2016. Our communities came out enthusiastically to elect Aramis Ayala, a candidate whose views resonated with our desire for criminal justice reform. Governor Scott is not just stripping Aramis Ayala of her power, he’s stripping Florida’s voter of their power as well. We will not accept this attack on our democratic process. We will fight and show again that Orlando, Tallahassee and the whole state stands with Aramis Ayala and the criminal justice reforms she espouses.”

Rashad Robinson, Executive Director, Color Of Change:

“Black voters made history in November electing Aramis Ayala because the community understands we are at a crossroads. Just this last election we partnered to do hundreds of thousands of voter contacts to put bad prosecutors on notice and to start shifting the narrative. Voters translated this urgency into power that made real change. By overreaching against Ayala, Governor Scott joins a long, ugly history where Black people are told that their political participation doesn’t matter and can be voided. We will not be turned away, we will not be stopped. We will continue to stand with Aramis Ayala.”

Monica Russo, SEIU 1199:

“On behalf of 55,000 active and retired workers – 3,000 of whom live in Orange and Osceola Counties – our members love and revere Aramis Ayala. Many of our folks are Black and Brown women – health care workers, bus drivers, airport workers. They fight for voting rights and healthcare and living wages. Many of them sleep with one eye open making sure their loved ones come home in one piece. We depend on DA Aramis Ayala. We have her back and we are proud to stand in support of our sister.”

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