Statement in Response to the Racially-Motivated Mass Shooting in Jacksonville, Florida
Tuesday, August 29, 2023 – This past Saturday, Angela Michelle Carr, 52; Anolt Joseph “AJ” Laguerre Jr., 29; and Jerrald De’Shaun Gallion, 19, were targeted and killed by a 21-year-old white man armed with a swastika-emblazoned assault rifle. They were murdered at a Dollar General store in Jacksonville, a city where 30% of residents are Black.
The gunman, who had penned several hateful manifestos, was first seen putting on a bulletproof vest on the campus of Edward Waters University, the first institution established in Florida to educate African Americans.
“It’s deeply disheartening that our Black communities live in constant fear of being targeted based on the color of their skin, unable to shop at their local store without the threat of violence,” said the Jacksonville Branch of the NAACP in a statement about the attack.
Saturday’s mass shooting coincided with the commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the March on Washington, when Civil Rights leaders and protesters demanded civil and economic rights for Black Americans. Six decades later, still reeling from the 2022 racially-motivated mass shooting that left 10 people dead in a Buffalo, NY supermarket, we are again forced to reckon with hate-fueled terroristic violence inflicted on another Black and Brown community.
Angela Ferrell-Zabala, executive director of Moms Demand Action, noted that “racism, white supremacy, and gun violence target Black people…this heinous act [must] serve as a stark reminder of the work that is needed to make America safer.”
“As a community, we have to come together. We have to love on each other. If we see something, we need to say something. We need to speak up. We need to push for gun safety legislation. We need to get to know our community members. We need to make sure we’re speaking up and telling what we know, ” implored Latasha Hobbs, a Jacksonville mother who lost her son to gun violence.
The Center for Family Representation (CFR) joins the Jacksonville community in mourning and in solidarity.
To learn more about how organizers on the ground are responding to this hate crime, listen to this interview with Kimberly Allen, CEO of 904WARD, an organization working to combat racism in Jacksonville. Additionally, WTOL 11 released a video of the president of the Jacksonville Branch of the NAACP urging national leaders to share in the responsibility of ending racist violence.
Photo: John Raoux, AP