State Rep. Anna Eskamani. Credit: Colin Hackley
Orlando House Democrat Anna Eskamani has filed a resolution for the 2020 Florida legislative session that rejects and condemns white nationalism and white supremacy as “hateful expressions of intolerance that are contradictory to the values that define the people of Florida and the United States.”
The proposal comes after reports emerged last week that the man who allegedly shot and killed 22 people in El Paso had warned of a “Hispanic invasion” in Texas.
“We’re at a moment of elevated rhetoric that paints a picture that is anti-immigrant, anti-people of color, and as we’ve seen some lawmakers step up to speak out against it, I feel firmly that now is the time for us to actually address the issue as a state and take a stance against white supremacy and white nationalism together,” Eskamani told the Phoenix in an interview.
In statements released last week, both Senate President Bill Galvano and House Speaker Jose Oliva referred to white nationalism as one of the factors involved in mass shootings that the Legislature may want to address.
The El Paso incident is mentioned in Eskamani’s resolution, as is the shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh last fall, which resulted in the killing of 11 Jewish worshippers. The alleged killer in that incident accused Jewish people of “waging a propaganda war against Western civilization” and “committing genocide” against whites by promoting immigration and refugee settlement.
Eskamani also refers to the killing of nine African-American worshippers at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina in 2015.
The resolution quotes from speeches made by Abraham Lincoln, Ronald Reagan and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and notes that FBI statistics show that hate crimes have increased in the past three years.
The Phoenix wrote earlier about a broad atmosphere of hatred that has been escalating in Florida for years, with hate groups ranging from the Ku Klux Klan to racist skinheads proliferating across the state.
“I think it’s our responsibility as lawmakers to showcase solidarity on the fact that in this state that we will not tolerate white supremacy and white nationalism, and it is un-American, and un-Floridian for anyone to subscribe to those philosophies,” Eskamani says.
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