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Vol.64/No.8      February 28, 2000 
Support grows for affirmative action protest  
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MIAMI--Momentum is building for a massive rally in defense of affirmative action March 7 in the Florida state capital of Tallahassee. At a February 14 organizing meeting in Miami, nearly 50 unionists, students, NAACP members, Haitian rights activists, and others enthusiastically discussed a plan that will involve at least 50 buses making an all-night bus ride from Miami to Tallahassee for the protest.

The March 7 action was called in the midst of weeks of protests and rallies involving thousands across the state in opposition to Florida Governor John Ellis Bush's executive order abolishing "racial or gender setasides, preferences, or quotas" in government hiring and contracting or in admissions to state universities.

The Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees union announced it was organizing a bus for its members to attend the March 7 rally. The Florida state AFL-CIO; the Amalgamated Transit Union; Union of Needletrades, Industrial and Textile Employees; Service International Employees Union; American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, and others are also actively building the protest.

Two thousand students from Florida A&M University protested this attack on affirmative action on February 8, and students from the Miami area are filling buses for the March 7 action. Students formed a youth committee at the February 14 planning meeting with student activists from Florida International University, Miami-Dade Community College, University of Miami, and other campuses.

Local commentators have remarked that protesting is either futile or a dead end. Noted Miami Herald Black columnist Robert Steinback remarked in a February 13 column that while protesters were "fighting a noble fight" their "efforts won't matter." Asserting that "affirmative action in Florida is as good as dead," Steinback continues, "One Florida is a better alternative than ending affirmative action."

Speaking as a part of a panel at a roundtable on affirmative action held at Miami-Dade Community College Wolfson campus, Rollande Girard, Socialist Workers candidate for mayor of Miami-Dade County, offered a different perspective. "There is not 'One Florida' but two Floridas--that of the majority of workers and farmers and the other of the bosses who seek to divide us to advance their drive for profits. The fight for affirmative action is essential to keep the capitalists from tearing our class apart and to help us prepare for future struggles leading to the fight for a socialist society based on human solidarity not profits."

For more information on the March 7 action call (305) 623-3000, extension 111; (850) 877-0307; or view the web site at  
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