Working people across the United States have stepped up to help out our friends, neighbors and communities during these trying times. In our regular Service + Solidarity Spotlight series, we’ll showcase one of these stories every day. Here’s today’s story.
South Florida advocacy, civil rights and labor groups, including the South Florida AFL-CIO, gathered on March 18 to unveil “Rise,” a mural created to call attention to a long list of bills in the Florida Legislature that are anti-worker and racially oppressive. Next to the child in the mural, a rainbow of colors drips down and a stack of books represents the critical learning tools that help to ensure a functioning democracy and a free and fair society—justice, voting, equality, free assembly and labor representation. A hummingbird with its wings spread out floats above, and in the middle is a quote from Maya Angelou: “[B]ut still, like the air, I’ll rise!”
One such bill the Florida AFL-CIO is speaking out against is Senate Bill 50, which seeks to begin collecting sales taxes on internet transactions. The bill includes an amendment coming that will give that new revenue, upward of a billion dollars, to big corporations to keep their meager unemployment insurance premiums the same as they have been for two decades, with no increases in eligibility or benefits for unemployed workers.
“Without the principles here on this wall, America is nothing, Florida is nothing, Miami-Dade County is nothing,” said South Florida AFL-CIO President Jeffrey Mitchell.
“We are reverting to an era of Jim Crow laws where the people, particularly people of color, will be denied the right to vote, a living wage, an education or seek other opportunities. It is the sole duty of our elected representatives to protect the rights of any and all citizens and to forbid this type of legislation from coming to fruition.”