Florida Democrats Called Out Racial Disparities, Unemployment Crisis in Florida

Florida Democrats Called Out Racial Disparities, Unemployment Crisis in Florida

Dwight Bullard (Photo by Sergi Alexander/Getty Images for O’Malley For President)

FLORIDA – Today, Florida Senate Minority Leader Audrey Gibson, State Sens. Victor Torres and José Javier Rodríguez, Dwight Bullard, New Florida Majority Political Director, and Terrie Rizzo, Florida Democratic Party Chair joined a virtual press conference to discuss racial disparities and the economic fallout from Donald Trump’s failed coronavirus response.

The May jobs report indicated that America is still in the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression and that Black and Latino communities are experiencing disproportionately high unemployment rates.

On Monday, the DNC published a poll of battleground states, including Florida, in which voters expressed their view that Donald Trump’s mistakes handling the coronavirus pandemic has worsened the economic crisis.

State Senate Democratic Minority Leader Audrey Gibson (SD-6) discussed how lack of infrastructure and health disparities hurt the African American and Latino communities in Florida:

“…health conditions that are related to COVID-19 occur over and over and over in African Americans and Hispanics…Even in Duval, and across the state actually, African Americans are over represented in hospitalizations due to COVID-19, as well as deaths due to COVID-19, [compared to] their percentages of the population of the state of Florida.”

State Sen. Victor Torres (SD-15) discussed how Vice President Biden will help working families, including raising the minimum wage and improving Florida’s unemployment benefits: 

“..Raise the minimum wage. We have working families that are the lowest paid… the need is something that Biden supports: lifting up the wages for the working class.”

State Sen. José Javier Rodríguez (SD- 37) discussed how the dual health and economic crises have hit people of color especially hard in Florida:

 “I want to amplify the comments of Leader Gibson and Senator Torres, in terms of the impact that the public health crisis and the economic crisis has had on our communities of color here in Florida, obviously especially our Black and Latino communities…Anytime you have a crisis like this, in a state like Florida, it’s going to hit our communities especially hard… We know that those at the lower end of the payscale tend to work in jobs that can’t be done from home. And we know that our hospitality sector, [where] a greater percentage of Latinos and African Americans work, is one of the sectors hardest hit. And one of the things as well that is not getting enough attention from our leadership here in Florida is how uneven this recovery is.“

“Our leaders at the federal level and the state level want to make a victory lap before we’ve even gone around the track for the first time.”

Dwight Bullard, Political Director, New Florida Majority discussed how inaction from President Trump and Governor DeSantis is exacerbating this crisis:

“We see a calloused and fundamentally flawed system of creating, again, a larger racial and class divide in the state of Florida, that’s been enabled by the inaction — and in many cases the the actual action and policy being put forth by not only Donald Trump and his administration, but again, exacerbated by Governor DeSantis here in the state of Florida.”

Terrie Rizzo, Florida Democratic Party Chair discussed how Trump’s failure to effectively respond to the crisis worsened the economic situation for many African American and Latino-owned businesses: 

“The National Bureau of Economic research released a study showing between February to April, the decline in black and Latino owned businesses was more than double that of white owned businesses. There was a 41% decline in black business owners, 32% decline in Latino business owners, and 17% decline in white owners. Again, failing to assist these businesses snufs out jobs and prosperity.

You can’t fix what you can’t see, and Donald Trump prefers to ignore problems that seem too hard. That’s what he did at the beginning of the crisis — he downplayed the threat of COVID-19, ignored the experts, and failed to prepare. And, alarmingly, he’s doing that now with a victory tour that completely ignores the fact that many Americans — particularly those in Black and Hispanic communities– are still bearing the brunt of his failed coronavirus response.



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