In 1865, slavery was abolished in Florida. This event, which was to be the moment when America would fulfill its promise of a land where all men are created equal, was instead followed by over a century of systemic racist oppression. As a southerner, it pains me to say that nowhere was this oppression more widespread and pervasive than here in the South. The dark legacies of redlining and school segregation can still be felt to this day right here in Orlando. 

The historical, racist demarcation of Division Street clearly separated White East Orlando from Black West Orlando and is still a dividing line today, as over 70% of Black Orlandoans still live west of Division Street.  Today, the median income of a White household in the City of Orlando is 57% higher than that of the median Hispanic household and almost 100% higher than that of the median Black household. In the nearly 17 years of the current city administration, the situation has gotten worse. Wages are suppressed. Affordable housing is out of reach. For too many, a high quality way of life is untenable. 

Buddy Dyer will tell you that Orlando is a “great place to live” however for many of Orlando’s communities, his administration continues the institutional failures, betrayals and hypocrisies that have been perpetuated since the city’s founding in 1875 and now into the 21st century. Today, for Black Orlandoans who were born in Orange County AND are current residents of Orlando, I introduce REPARATIONS. This is not a monetary give-away. Insead this is an opportunity to increase the use of city services and its treasury through discounted offerings. Once sworn in as mayor, I will instruct the city attorney to immediately begin investigating the constitutionality of Orlando’s reparations program. Imagine an opportunity, for those who qualify, to experience reduced fees for city permits, administrative costs, reduced cultural and entertainment costs, and much more. Furthermore, as your mayor I will promptly introduce a series of proclamations formally apologizing and when necessary, authorize the appropriation of funds to properly pay for past mistakes and atrocities perpetrated by the City’s government on its minority populations.

In conclusion, reparations are only a part of a greater plan. Now is not the moment for incremental change. NO more baby-steps. No more of the same old faces telling us to wait our turn. What we need is transformative. We desperately need affordable housing now! We desperately need reliable public transportation now, not in 10 years or 15 years. Our quality of life cannot wait any longer. 

Giving someone a fifth term in office is not progress. It is stagnation. To truly bring about real and progressive change to Orlando, we need a New Voice. Our time is now, vote for a new progressive voice, vote Aretha Simons on November 5th.

Please invest in our progressive future by pledging a donation as much you can give, every amount counts towards victory. 

Thank you


Orlando In the news

Affordable Housing

Orlando area now worst in nation for shortage of extremely low-income housing: Orlando Sentinel

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