On Jan.19, Floridians will once again observe Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, honoring the man who advanced and steered a civil rights movement that pushed America toward equality and justice for all persons. Dr. King and his followers stood in strong opposition to racial discrimination, as well as the wrongful and unequal treatment of people who differ in national origin and religious belief.
While no stranger to the racial inequities, Florida has made incredible strides toward ending racial discrimination since the civil rights movement began. Despite this, prejudice inequality still exist and can lead to discrimination in the workplace, housing and public accommodations. The Florida Commission on Human Relations was established to address these very examples, to help eliminate discrimination and to ensure the fair treatment of all persons, regardless of race or national origin.
Each year, the commission administers the Florida Civil Rights Hall of Fame program, which honors the actions of Floridians who helped advance civil rights in our state. In keeping with Dr. King’s legacy, these heroes are recognized and honored for making significant contributions as leaders for equality and justice for all persons.
So, as we reflect upon Dr. King and the day we celebrate his memory, let it be a time for all Floridians to echo the bravery shown by not only Dr. King, but all those who stood up for equality in the face of injustice. Their courage promoted the advance of tolerance evident in today’s society, and it is our job as Americans and Floridians to help maintain the civil rights of all people.
Gilbert “Gil” Singer, Chair, Florida Commission on Human Relations