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Reps. Hinson, McCurdy, Nixon, Morales Shut Down Florida House with Sit-In

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (FNN) – Florida House Democrats staged a sit-in on the Florida House floor in protest against Florida governor Ron DeSantis‘s Congressional map Thursday, temporary halting the vote.

It began with State Rep. Yvonne Hinson (D-Gainesville) speaking beyond her allotted time for comment. As debate on the bill, Senate Bill 2-C, wrapped up, Rep. Angie Nixon (D-Jacksonville) marched down the center aisle, shouting, “When Black votes are under attack, what do we do? Stand up and fight back.”

Consequently, Democratic lawmakers chanted and shouted as the final vote was tallied. Black lawmakers sat on the chamber floor, prayed and sang “We Shall Overcome.” Several stood in a circle, held hands, and prayed.

Rep. Dotie Joseph, D-North Miami leads fellow Democrat protesters in prayer as debate stops on Senate Bill 2-C: Establishing the Congressional Districts of the State in the House of Representatives Thursday, April 21, 2022 at the Capitol in Tallahassee, Fla. The session was halted on the protest, but resumed after a brief recess. (AP Photo/Phil Sears)

Rep. Dotie Joseph, D-North Miami leads fellow Democrat protesters in prayer as debate stops on Senate Bill 2-C: Establishing the Congressional Districts of the State in the House of Representatives Thursday, April 21, 2022 at the Capitol in Tallahassee, Fla. The session was halted on the protest, but resumed after a brief recess. (AP Photo/Phil Sears)

African American State Representatives Hinson, Nixon, Travaris McCurdy (D-Orlando), Felicia Robinson (D-Miami Gardens), Geraldine Thompson (D-Orlando), Dotie Joseph (D-North Miami), along with several others, protested against DeSantis’s map, which erased two African American Democratic congressional districts.

Reps. McCurdy and Nixon wore shirts that read, “Stop the Black Attack,” and Rep. McCurdy chanted the same.

The visceral reaction extended beyond the Black lawmakers. State Rep. Anika Omphroy (D-Lauderdale Lakes) comforted her Caucasian colleague Rep. Robin Bartleman (D-Weston), who cried as she witnessed the sit-in.

Rep. Tray McCurdy, D-Orlando and Rep. Angie Nixon, D-Jacksonville sit on the Florida Seal in protest as debate stops on Senate Bill 2-C: Establishing the Congressional Districts of the State in the House of Representatives Thursday, April 21, 2022 at the Capitol in Tallahassee, Fla. Rep. Daisy Morales, D-Orlando, joins the protest, holding a sign. The session was halted on the protest. (AP Photo/Phil Sears)

Rep. Tray McCurdy, D-Orlando and Rep. Angie Nixon, D-Jacksonville sit on the Florida Seal in protest as debate stops on Senate Bill 2-C: Establishing the Congressional Districts of the State in the House of Representatives Thursday, April 21, 2022 at the Capitol in Tallahassee, Fla. Rep. Daisy Morales, D-Orlando, joins the protest, holding a sign. The session was halted on the protest. (AP Photo/Phil Sears)

State Rep. Daisy Morales was the lone Hispanic involved in the sit-in. “Our democracy is being attacked. The governor eliminating two Black Congressional seats is a power grab and it’s wrong,” State Rep. Morales said in a written statement following the vote. “Stripping seats from Black representation is the same as saying the Black voice–the Black vote–doesn’t matter.”

The sit-in triggered a brief recess, after which the votes were cast. The bill passed 68-38 along party lines.

“With this map passing, I’m deeply concerned because it means he’ll likely target the one and only Puerto Rican representing Florida in Congress next, Darren Soto, all in the name of catering to his party,” Rep. Morales added in her statement. “We don’t want to disenfranchise the 1.2 million Puerto Ricans in Florida.”

“What we see today is an overreach, and it’s something we see as unacceptable,” said Rep. Kamia Brown (D-Orlando), Legislative Black Caucus Chair, to reporters after the session. “Today was one thing we could not just take and stand. … We’re sick and tired of being sick and tired.”

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Mellissa Thomas is Editor for Florida National News. | mellissa.thomas@floridanationalnews.com

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