'Moral Monday' to take place day before Fla. legislative session begins

Thousands expected to march on Fla. state Capitol for rally

Author: Matt Galka, Reporter, Capitol News Service
Published On: Feb 24 2014 04:40:00 PM EST
Florida State Seal
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -

Thousands of people are expected to march on the state Capitol on the eve of the legislative session next week unhappy because they believe key issues are being ignored.

When you see 5-year-old Jaden Vidal bouncing and laughing around the Capitol, you wouldn't even know he was born with half of a heart.

"His condition is called hypoplastic left heart syndrome, which is the underdevelopment of the left side of the heart," said Belkis Velasquez, Jaden's mother. "In order to correct this, Jaden needed three open-heart surgeries."

Jaden's first surgery was covered by Medicaid.

"They fix people," said Velasquez.

Expansion of the program, to include 1 million working poor, is one of the key issues driving what the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is calling "Moral Monday."

Moral Monday started with protests in North Carolina. Florida's version will come next Monday, the day before the annual legislative session begins.

The rally will happen in the Capitol's courtyard and will focus on Medicaid expansion, repealing "stand your ground" and ending voter suppression.

The state recently blocked an attempt to open an early-voting location at the University of Florida.

Jessica Lowe Minor, of the League of Women Voters, said the denial is an example of suppression.

"The league certainly disagrees with the state's decision on that. We feel like the secretary of state should be encouraging early-voting locations," said Minor.

Gov. Rick Scott's secretary of state rejected the UF early-voting site, saying it doesn't meet the state law definition of a government-owned building or community center.

Groups such as the Southern Christian Leadership Council, Planned Parenthood and the Florida Consumer Action Network are partnering with the NAACP for the event..