According to Natalie Kazim FightBack News March 7, 2021 On March 2, the first day of legislative session, organizers from across the state of Florida gathered in front of the Old Historic Capitol Building to highlight the statewide fight against Governor Ron DeSantis’ anti-protest legislation, House Bill 1 and Senate Bill 484 (HB1/SB484).
“With people power, we can always win,” said Angie Nixon, longtime community organizer and newly elected representative of the 14th District. “This bill is a direct response to the progress we made this summer,” asserted Christina Kittle of Jacksonville Community Action Committee.
Representative Michele Raynor Goolsby spoke to the broad and dangerous scope of the bill: “This is an anti-Black bill, this is an anti-brown bill, this is an anti-woman bill... Anti- any American who finds their rights to be not human rights but privileges to be voted on. And this brings not only marginalized folks’ rights into question. This bill threatens our First Amendment right as Americans, and anyone has the right to resist that.” Later on Raynor-Goolsby reflected on the diversity of opposition to the legislation, “We could see it in the crowd. Folks of many races, ethnicities, sexualities and genders were out protesting with us. We all have to come together to fight for our rights. Fight for everyone or fight for no one.”
Michael Sampson, of Jacksonville Community Action Committee, told the crowd that as long as HB1 was being voted on, people would still continue to fight against it, and that if it passed in the House, people would continue to fight it in the Senate.
Fight Back! supporter
As of July 5 2020 members included Christina Kittle.
Lessons from the movement: Community Control of Police
Lessons from the movement: Community Control of Police National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression
Speakers included Gabriel Montero Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, Michael Sampson National Desk National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression and co-JCAC, Loretta VanPelt TC Coalition 4 Justice for Jamar, Regina Joseph, president of JCAC, Christina Kittle co-founder JCAC, Jennifer Miller Dallas Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, Jade Arter Utah Against Police Brutality.
Teachers union activist
In 2019 Christina Kittle was involved in the Fund Our Future campaign.
According to Christina Kittle the Florida Education Association (FEA) union held their annual statewide Delegate Assembly in Orlando Florida October 17-19 2019, at the Rosen Convention Centre, with 836 registered delegates from over 100 teacher unions across the state of Florida.
The Delegate Assembly is the highest decision-making body for Florida teachers. This year, it introduced a new leadership board as well as a new statewide political campaign for Florida teacher unions. The new leadership board consisted of Fedrick Ingram, president; Andrew Spar, vice president, and Carole Gauronskas, secretary-treasurer. Fedrick “Fed” Ingram, an African American music teacher and former president of the United Teachers of Dade union, had an energy that many commented was much needed.
The call for Florida unions to come together was not just hyperbolic; it was to announce a political action. The FEA announced the launch of the Florida Fund our Future. The plan proposes A Decade of Progress, which is a ten-year investment of $22 billion in education funding through 2030, with a down payment from lawmakers in 2020 of $2.4 billion for 10% pay increases for every public school employee across the state of Florida.
This demand comes on the heels of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’s proposal to invest $600 million to new hire teacher raises. The governor’s proposal is wildly unpopular as it only specifies new hires, not veteran teachers, no paraprofessionals and no social workers. The $2.4 billion the FEA is demanding would include all public school employees, rookie and veteran educators, including paraprofessionals and also social workers, bus drivers, cafeteria workers, custodians, librarians, secretaries etc. As it stands right now, Florida is 46th in the nation in teacher pay, more than $12,000 behind the national average.
The first call to action for the Fund Our Future Campaign is for educators to meet in Tallahassee on January 13, 2020, the day before the legislative session. While overall, most are pleased to finally see some action, some educators still would like to see things taken a step further.
“We need to strike,” a Broward County educator expressed, plainly. “Our dues have risen, but we know it’s not going towards a strike fund. What do we do if lawmakers continue to ignore our demands? This idea is definitely a push in the right direction, but what’s at stake exactly? What’s stopping lawmakers from ignoring us like they already are?”
The threat of strikes being illegal for teachers has since been shattered by West Virginia and a string of other teacher strikes across the nation. As Florida sinks further towards the bottom in the nation for public education, and as teachers face more and more obstacles daily, the question remains: Will teachers continue to silently leave the profession in the mass exodus we are currently experiencing, or will the unions take the risks involved to organize a credible strike threat?
Syria rally/Jacksonville 5
Police launched reacted strongly to a “No war with Syria” rally in Jacksonville’s Hemming Park, April 7. 2017. At least four were arrested, and that one protester was "beaten so severely that he has been hospitalized".
- About six Trump supporters attempted to disrupt the 50-person anti-war rally. A Trump supporter got behind the speakers with a pro Trump flag and hit a protester with it; at that point the cops launched their attack.
- On demonstrator, Connell Crooms, was punched in the face and kidneys, while a taser was in his back. He was arrested and is now in the hospital. A member of Veterans for Peace, Will Haeger, was punched in the face by the cops. Rally emcee Dave Schneider was arrested across the street, where he was encouraging protesters to go to the jail to support those who had be detained.
Five protesters were released on bail from Jacksonville jail on Saturday evening, April 8. The protesters were arrested and several were beaten at a “No War in Syria” rally held on April 7, where police allowed a right-wing provocateur with a Trump flag to enter the protest and physically assault speakers and organizers of the rally.
Instead of stopping the provocateur, the police descended upon Connell Crooms, a deaf Black man, who the provocateur had assaulted. The police savagely beat, kicked and tased Crooms - who is a well-known union activist and Black Lives Matter leader in Jacksonville - until he was unconscious and had to be taken to the hospital. The police also beat and arrested a 74-year-old Vietnam veteran, Willie Wilder; the leader of the Jacksonville Coalition for Consent Christina Kittle; and a transgender activist Toma Beckwith. Finally, the police arrested prominent union leader and activist Dave Schneider and charged him with “felony inciting a riot” for organizing the protest. Police did not arrest the provocateur who assaulted protest participants.
On April 8, over 200 people, including leaders in the labor movement, Black community, and progressive groups assembled to demand that all the charges against the Jacksonville 5 be dropped. Supporters chanted “Drop the charges” and the mother of Connell Crooms gave a tearful testament to Connell's character. Community leaders called for a full independent investigation into the police misconduct on April 7, and an investigation into the police spying program on progressive activists in Jacksonville. Just weeks earlier, Jacksonville's Florida Times Union reported that the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office (JSO) had been spying on protesters, amongst them, Dave Schneider, Connell Crooms and Christina Kittle.
- FB News, Vicious police attack on Jacksonville anti-war protest By staff | April 7, 2017
- [http://www.fightbacknews.org/2017/4/10/5-jacksonville-anti-war-protesters-released-after-posting-157000-dollars-bail FB 5 Jacksonville anti-war protesters released after posting $157,000 dollars for bail By staff | April 10, 2017]