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Black lawmakers say they'll fight Congressional map designed to 'systematically disenfranchise' minority voters

Rep. Kamia Brown speaks at a press conference in Orlando Friday. Image: The Florida Channel
Rep. Kamia Brown speaks at a press conference in Orlando Friday. Image: The Florida Channel

African American lawmakers are vowing to fight a new Congressional map expected to increase Florida's Republican seats in Congress and reduce Black representation.

The GOP-led Florida House approved Gov. Ron DeSantis's map Thursday, after the governor vetoed a bipartisan plan and called for a special session.

Ocoee State Rep.Kamia Brown is chair of the Legislative Black Caucus. She echoes the late civil rights leader John Lewis, promising "good trouble, necessary trouble" against the new Congressional map.

"It was a blatant attempt to rig districts to favor the Republican Party and to systematically disenfranchise Black voters and their voices in Congress," Brown says. "The governor bullied the legislature into being used as his pawns."

Black lawmakers say the map violates federal law and explicit rules in the Florida Constitution.

They say the next step is litigation. But there's little time before this year's elections are set.

DeSantis had argued that a majority Black district in North Florida violated the 14th Amendment.

At a press conference Friday, Orlando pastor the Rev. Robert Spooney said the Florida General Baptist Convention, with 600-plus churches, adamantly opposes the map. He says they recognize it as "a strategy to weaken the voice of Black Americans" in Florida.

Joe Byrnes came to WMFE/WMFV from the Ocala Star-Banner and The Gainesville Sun, where he worked as a reporter and editor for several years. Joe graduated from Loyola University in New Orleans and turned to journalism after teaching. He enjoys freshwater fishing and family gatherings.
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