Some in Philadelphia are not a fan of Florida GOP Governor Ron DeSantis, who was in the city Tuesday night to receive an honor from a private club based there known as the Union League of Philadelphia.
The organization originated during the Civil War, and DeSantis received the same award from the group that was once conferred on Abraham Lincoln. Demonstrators showed up to voice their opposition on Tuesday outside the club’s building throughout the afternoon and evening. Among the other points of serious contention over DeSantis’s policies was his recent decision to block an Advanced Placement (AP) course for high-schoolers that would’ve covered themes of Black history and the current experiences of Black Americans. Course topics included opposition to capitalism and studies of gender identity and sexual orientation — and DeSantis and his team evidently decided that they wouldn’t even allow Florida high schoolers to think for themselves about this content. Instead, in the name of what they dubiously claim to be freedom, they’re taking away the option of engagement.
“The fact that Gov. DeSantis has denied Black and brown people their own history is an affront to their culture,” the Rev. Robert Collier, who serves as president at an organization called the Black Clergy of Philadelphia, said. At least two members of the city council joined demonstrations against DeSantis. “We need to let them know that we will not stand for this nonsense,” Sharon Vaughn, one of the figures, said. “And if you come in Philadelphia and act crazy, we will meet you with the same energy.” Kenyatta Johnson, another member of the council whose district includes the league, observed the critical nature of the history of African-Americans. Details of the crowd were reported in The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Also present at the protests Tuesday against DeSantis was a state legislator, Democratic Senator Vincent Hughes, who addressed some of his remarks to club members. “We challenge those who are members of the Union League to take a hike,” he said. “To take a walk. To take to somewhere else. To join some other club or to use your money that’s being put into this club to some greater use to benefit the people of this city.” The range of policies from DeSantis leading to criticism has proven expansive, from his support for abortion restrictions to his bill, which quickly became the subject of judicial challenges, sharply restricting how concepts like white privilege could be taught. He also imposed infamous — and still standing — limits on classroom discussions of sexual orientation and gender identity.
Outside the classroom and workplace, he was also responsible for a Congressional redistricting plan that pushed Democrat Al Lawson, who is Black, out of government service. And of course, he also helped lead the charge against basic, proven health measures around COVID-19. Check out aerial footage of the Philadelphia demonstrators sticking to their positions after night fell — and other Tuesday protest scenes — below:
I attended a protest/press conference today outside the Union League of Philadelphia to denounce the organization's plan to honor Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis tonight. pic.twitter.com/H4IzcESefX
— Kenyatta Johnson (@CouncilmemberKJ) January 25, 2023
— The Philly Captain (@philly_captain) January 25, 2023