MIAMI, Fla. – Governor DeSantis on Monday signed a bill designating Nov. 7 as “Victims of Communism Day.”
The bill (H.B. 395) will require Florida students to learn about the destructive effects of communism around the world.
The instruction will begin in the 2023-2024 school year for students enrolled in a U.S. government course. The bill requires at least 45 minutes of teaching about communist victims on the recognition day.
The signing ceremony took place in Miami’s Freedom Tower.
“From 1959 to 1974, more than 650,000 Cubans came to the United States to have to flee the oppressive communist regime of Fidel Castro. Many of them came to South Florida either by plane or by boat, and once they landed, they would be taken right here to the Freedom Tower where they receive assistance and began their new life in the United States,” said DeSantis.
DeSantis also approved $25 million for the restoration of the Freedom Tower at Miami Dade College. The Freedom Tower is considered the “Ellis Island of the South” for its role from 1962 through 1974 as the Cuban Assistance Center, offering nationally sanctioned relief to the Cuban refugees who sought political asylum from the regime of Fidel Castro.
“This bill is so important because what you don’t recognize and don’t learn about, you tend to repeat,” said Madeline Paumariega, Miami Dade College president. “And so, always keeping front and center that there are victims of communism, some that you will never see.”
Florida is home to tens of thousands of people who have fled communist governments, especially Cubans who left after Fidel Castro took power on the island in 1959. Nov. 7 is the day in 1917 when Russia’s Bolshevik Revolution installed a communist government there.