(Photo credit Eric Flagg, taken from Facebook. This is the 34th Street graffiti wall in Gainesville)
Will there ever come a time when we stop talking about racism?
Today is sad for my hometown of Gainesville, Florida. Today White Nationalist, Richard Spencer, and his supporters are here, in my home, spreading their message of hate and intolerance. They chose Gainesville because the University of Florida is our heart, a campus of young, impressionable students. They chose Gainesville because it’s the center of Alachua County, one of only a handful of counties in Florida that strongly identifies as liberal. They chose us thinking they could intimidate and bully us. THEY ARE WRONG.
I’ve lived in Gainesville since 1978, not yet four-years-old. I’ve watched my community grow and become the home to people from all around the world. My teachers were men and women of all colors, ages, and sexual preference. Living here helped shape my view of the world. The residents of Gainesville taught me diversity is what makes us stronger. Diversity is what makes us smarter. When we come together, as one, we are the best. And make no mistake, Gainesville is the best.
My mother’s family is from Jamaica, a third-world county whose motto is “Out of Many One People.” How amazing is that? How incredible is it that a small Caribbean country, not as advanced in technology or opportunity, embraces the multiracial diversity of its people? How can we allow racism to continue in the first world?
It’s a sad day because intolerance shouldn’t be in Gainesville or anywhere.
But I know today will show those who consider me inferior because of the color of my skin THEY ARE WRONG. Today will prove that love of our community and its beliefs are superior. Today will show the ignorance and dishonor of white nationalists and their supporters. Today the Gator Nation will stand firm in who we are. WE ARE GAINESVILLE STRONG.