In the wake of a racially-motivated mass shooting that killed 3 Black people at a Dollar General on Saturday near the campus of Edward Waters University, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has announced $1 million to boost security at the HBCU.
The initial, immediate award of $1 million is coming through the Volunteer Florida Foundation, according to a news release from DeSantis’ office. This is in addition to an award of $100,000 to help the impacted families of this tragedy.
“We are not going to allow our HBCUs to be targets for hateful scumbags,” DeSantis said in the release. “I’ve directed my administration to use every resource available to ensure the Edward Waters campus is safe following this shooting and to help the impacted families as they mourn their loved ones.”
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement began visiting the campus on Sunday, providing additional security including during the vigil, and began monitoring social media for any additional threats.
FDLE Commissioner Mark Glass is visiting with EWU President Dr. A. Zachary Faison Jr. on Monday to begin the assessment of the campus’ security infrastructure.
The Governor originally announced the awards when attending a prayer vigil for the victims in Jacksonville.
In the release, DeSantis said his office will continue to stay in contact with Faison, Jacksonville Mayor Donna Deegan and Sheriff T.K. Waters “to ensure that the community has the resources they need as they process this tragedy.”
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State Rep. Angie Nixon (D-Jacksonville) called the funding a “band-aid offer” and issued the following statement:
“Let me be perfectly clear: no amount of money can erase the pain caused by years of marginalization and oppression. Our historically Black institutions have faced an uphill battle for decades, and I invite DeSantis to go back through unfilled budget requests and line item vetoes to begin to provide the funding they’ve needed for years. For it to take murder for him to dig in his overflowing coffers for support is appalling.
“The recent Jacksonville shooting, which targeted Black individuals, is a stark reminder of the dangerous consequences of unchecked racism. While DeSantis may feign concern now, his track record speaks louder than his hollow words. We need actions, not publicity stunts.
“I urge the Governor to do more than make empty gestures and call folks names. It’s time for him to truly reckon with the damage he has caused, to apologize for the harm he has inflicted, and to actively work towards undoing the racist system he’s helped uphold and grow.”