MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – Activist groups are trying to spread the word about a controversial new anti-riot bill that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis just signed into law.
They believe that new law discriminates against people of color and denies them their First Amendment rights.
“We’re wasting a whole bunch of time, even money, our tax dollars, to criminalize people who want to hold our government accountable when they do harm to citizens,” said Valencia Gunder, co-founder of The Black Collective.
A grassroots effort across the State of Florida is happening to let people know about law HB 1, which DeSantis officially signed into law Monday morning, the same day the jury in the trial of Derek Chauvin began deliberations.
“That’s exactly why we’re canvassing,” Gunder said. “Regardless of what the verdict is, people are going to want to assemble.”
Gunder helped organize several groups going door to door in Liberty City Tuesday afternoon.
The objective was to let people know this law is already in effect and explain what that means.
The law gives more discretion to officers and stiffer penalties for those arrested during a protest, including a mandatory six-month jail sentence for certain offenses.
It also strips control from local governments should they try to divert funding from police departments.
Gunder said the law is an attempt to frighten people out of exercising their First Amendment rights and silence those protesting injustice.
“That is exactly what Governor DeSantis just did,” Gunder said. “He’s abusing his power as governor to harm people.”