On Jan. 16, 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 differed in national origin and religious beliefs.
Florida is no stranger to racial inequities. Yet, the Sunshine State has made incredible strides toward ending racial injustices and discrimination since the days when Dr. King was leading the civil rights movement.
Despite advances, prejudice and inequality still exist in many forms. Workplace, housing and public accommodations discrimination still exist in our contemporary landscape, leaving some to seek remedy.
Since 1969, the Florida Commission on Human Relations has sought to address these issues by helping to eliminate discrimination and ensuring the fair treatment of all persons. The leadership and staff of the commission work diligently to ensure that unfair treatment based on race, color, religion, sex, disability, pregnancy, national origin, age, marital status and familial status in housing will never be tolerated in this state.
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 advancement of tolerance evident in today’s society.
It is our duty and honor, as Americans and as Floridians, to continue his legacy of protecting the civil rights of all people.
Vice Chair, Florida Commission on Human Relations