Governor Charlie Crist today ceremonially signed House Bill 523, which creates the Florida Civil Rights Hall of Fame, joined by bill sponsors Representative Alan Williams and Senator Tony Hill. Later today, he will address supporters of the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) at the fifth annual Governor’s Luncheon in Jacksonville.
“Many courageous Floridians have made tremendous sacrifices so that every man, woman and child who call the Sunshine State home can experience equal opportunity and enjoy civil rights,” Governor Crist said. “I am privileged to sign legislation that will honor the heroes who fought for civil rights in our state.”
The legislation creates the Florida Civil Rights Hall of Fame, which will honor Floridians who have made significant contributions and provided exemplary leadership toward Florida's progress and achievements in civil rights. It will be located in a public area inside the Capitol Building, as designated by the Department of Management Services in consultation with the Florida Commission on Human Relations. Each year, the commission will accept nominations and recommend 10 persons to the Governor, who will select up to three members. Honorees may be alive or recognized posthumously.
“I applaud Governor Crist for his forward thinking and forever changing the history of our state. For years, we have worked to be inclusive of all Floridians, and Governor Crist has not only shared that vision, but championed it,” said Adora Obi Nweze, president of the Florida State Conference of the NAACP. “I would like to express a hearty, ‘Thank you,’ to both State Senator Tony Hill and State Representative Alan Williams for their sponsorship and vision of the bill, along with securing its passage.”
TALLAHASSEE- Today marks a day that many of Florida’s elected officials, community leaders and spiritual leaders stood together as one, cohesive body, united by the common purpose of preserving the history of those who fought and pioneered the Civil Rights Movement in Florida. Governor Crist signed into law, HB 523 which establishes Florida’s Civil Rights Hall of Fame.
“Our sentiments of gratitude go out to Former State Representative, Lieutenant Governor-elect Jennifer Carroll, Governor Charlie Crist, Reverend Joseph, and the Florida Chapter of NAACP for their efforts in ensuring that this bill became a law. We would like to thank all members of the Florida legislature who understood and championed the importance of honoring the heroes of the Civil Rights movement. As a legislative body, we were able to secure the passage of this bill on the notion that without the vision that these heroes had for a society where all citizens are treated equally, their tenacity to confront abuse and brutality without complaint, and their perseverance to never quit until the job was done; many minority legislators would have never had the opportunity to become an elected official, stated Representative Williams.
“A wise man once said, that “in order to know where you are going, you must first know where it is that you come from”. The passage of this bill educates us all on our history; and because of that, we know where we come from, said Senator Hill. And as a result, we are able to shed light on the direction in which the State of Florida is moving as a whole. We stand confident in knowing that our actions today will lead Florida to a brighter future”.