Proposed redistricting demonstration held in downtown Jacksonville

A local Activist is spearheading a grassroots campaign in Jacksonville to protest the controversial congressional redistricting plan proposed by Governor Ron DeSantis.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Northside Coalition and other groups held a demonstration at City Hall Monday morning -- saying they are concerned about the new congressional redistricting maps.

Florida lawmakers are returning to the state’s Capitol Tuesday for a special session on redistricting.

A number of groups are planning to head to Tallahassee early tomorrow morning to show their anger over the latest plan by Governor DeSantis to make prominently black and democratic congressional District 5 white and republican.

Governor Ron DeSantis’ proposal shrinks District 5 which runs along the state’s northern border and is currently represented by U.S. Representative Al Lawson.

If adopted, the GOP would pick up four congressional seats.

“The governor’s proposed redistricting map is a sham and a scam,” Ben Frazier, with the Northside Coalition, said. “It’s unfair and unconstitutional. It’s an attack on black representation and an injustice to black voters.”

While the governor was in town at UF Health on Monday -- News4JAX reporter Jim Piggott asked him if his map silencing Black Voters.

“That is not true,” DeSantis said. “So look this whole issue is a serious constitutional issue.”

The Governor said the current map is the one that is unfair because Democrat Al Lawson’s district is stretched from Jacksonville to Tallahassee.

“Anything we do somebody is going to say something and I think once the dust settles and those people look at the issues and say yeah that makes a lot of sense,” DeSantis said.

“We are putting governor DeSantis on notice and we are going to let him know that come November will no longer be in the governor’s mansion. And we are stopping him in his tracks because he ain’t going to be our President of the United States,” Democratic State Representative Angie Nixon, of District 14, said.

It was not only the Governor being slammed by people at the rally at city hall Monday, but Jacksonville city council members were also being told by the group including Pastor RL Gundy that council members need to speak out about the redistricting plan.

“If they don’t want to do it we are going to get rid of these people,” said Pastor Gundy.

“Every Black politician, republican or democrat, who refused to come out here and fight with us and tell us they want to stop this -- they don’t need to represent us anymore,” Gundy said

Council President Sam Newby did not want to comment to News4JAX about that statement but did say this is a state issue and does not involve the city council.

Those rallying today will join others from around the state tomorrow in Tallahassee as the special session begins -- they will protest on the steps of the capital. It’s expected the maps will be passed by the Republican controlled legislature and then challenged in court.

About the Author:

Jim Piggott is the reporter to count on when it comes to city government and how it will affect the community.