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Jacksonville demands People’s Budget, stands in solidarity with the Tally 19

By Rachel Duff |
September 23, 2020
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Jacksonville  protest demands People’s Budget, stands with the Tally 19
Jacksonville protest demands People’s Budget, stands in solidarity with the Tally 19. (Fight Back! News/staff)

Jacksonville, FL – On September 19, over 120 people showed up outside city hall in downtown Jacksonville demanding a people’s budget and community control of the police. This action was in response to the call by the National Alliance Against Racist and Pollical Repression (NAARPR) national call to action. The Jacksonville Community Action Committee is an affiliate of NAARPR.

Speakers from Jacksonville Community Action Committee, University of North Florida SDS, Take ‘Em Down Jax, Northside Coalition of Jacksonville, ACLU, Mount Sinai Baptist Church and other organizations participated. The demands have been consistent as thousands gathered in the streets over the summer and they are as follows:

-- Community control of the police in the form of a Jacksonville Police Accountability Council (JPAC)

-- Abolish Law Enforcement Officer’s Bill of Rights (LEOBOR; Florida statute 112.532)

-- People’s Budget now (to reallocate half of the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office budget; currently 40% of the city budget)

-- Drop the charges for the #Tally19 (Stop police repression)

-- Withdraw federal troops from our cities

The crowd chanted in call and response, “What do we want? A people’s budget! When do we want it? Now!” and in reference to the Tallahassee 19, the crowd chanted, “Drop the charges!”

This was the last opportunity to demonstrate opposition to the mayor’s proposed pro-police budget before the finance committee takes a vote. The People’s Budget would effectively re-invest and re-allocate funds that currently bloat the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office budget, which currently sits at $481,594,597 and in the wake of summer uprisings, Sheriff Mike Williams is requesting a $6.1 million increase.

The People’s Budget also calls for People’s Legislation that would direct city officials to make a carve-out in the city’s charter to create a civilian police accountability council; a proposal for a union neutrality ordinance for contractors that gets city contracts to allow their workers the ability to unionize without workplace repression; calls to decriminalize marijuana; greater access to city contracts for small Black businesses and vendors; rent controls to combat gentrification in historically Black neighborhoods like Springfield, and the creation of an Urban Core Development Authority which would direct public and private investment to address community blight and poverty in Jacksonville’s Black neighborhoods.

The JCAC called on city council to reject any budget that doesn’t fund communities yet increases the police budget.

Sara Mahmoud, an organizer with the Jacksonville Community Action Committee, addressed the crowd at Saturday’s rally, “After months of ongoing and historic protests, we are pressing upon the city council to say no to the city budget, and reject stealing taxpayer dollars in order to continue funding crooked killer cops in Jacksonville.”

To follow work with the JCAC, visit: https://jaxtakesaction.org/

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