Florida Mayors Split on Critical Race Theory After Mayors’ Conference Vote


Earlier this month, the U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) affirmed its support for teaching Critical Race Theory (CRT) in public K-12 schools. The conference adopted Resolution 68 entitled “In Support of Critical Race Theory in Public K-12 Education.”

The resolution included language supporting the “basic tenents of CRT.”

    1. “Recognition that race is not biologically real, but it is socially constructed and socially significant as a product of social thought not connected to biological reality;
    2.  Acknowledgment that racism is a normal feature of society and is embedded within systems and institutions, like the legal system, that replicates racial inequality, meaning that racist incidents are not aberrations but instead manifestations of structural and systemic racism;
    3. Rejection of popular understandings about racism, including claims of meritocracy, colorblindness, and arguments that confine racism to a few bad apples, in recognition that the systemic nature of racism, which is codified in law, embedded in structures, and woven into public policy, bears primary responsibility for reproducing racial inequality;
    4. Recognition of the relevance of people’s everyday lives to scholarship, embracing the lived experiences of people of color, including those preserved through storytelling, and rejecting deficit-informed research that excludes the epistemologies of people of color…”

Of the attendees, only one Florida mayor voted in the opposition to the resolution: Mayor Francis Suarez of Miami (pictured above). Suarez also serves as vice president of the organization.

However, not all Florida mayors are active members of the USMC and not all were in attendance.

In an exclusive email to The Florida Capital Star, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer’s office noted he did not voice opposition to the resolution.

“Typically the USCM agendas are voted on in their entirely in one vote,” said Dyer’s press secretary Cassandra Anne Lafser in an email to The Capital Star. “If members are opposed, they can log no votes on individual items. Mayor Dyer did not log a no vote to oppose this specific item. He believes public education should be run by the local experts, in this case, our elected leaders of the Orange County School Board, versus legislators in state government.”

Gainesville Mayor Lauren Poe was not present for the vote but did express support for teaching CRT.

“I did not attend the meeting and therefore did not cast a vote on the resolution,” said Poe through the city of Gainesville’s public information officer, Rosanna Passaniti. “I am in support of teaching CRT in schools.”

Tallahassee Mayor John Dailey said, while on The Morning Show with Preston Scott, he was not present for the vote and had not visited a USCM meeting in over two years. However, he did say he supports teaching “correct” history and not shying away from it.

“We should always teach our correct history in school,” Dailey said. “Now, this vote that you’re referring to, I have no idea what you’re talking about. I have no idea what was in the language that was passed, so I don’t feel comfortable speaking to it.”

Other Florida mayors, including Lenny Curry of Jacksonville and Grover Robinson of Pensacola, have not been active members of the USMC. The Florida Capital Star reached out to Mayor Jane Castor of Tampa and her office but did not respond to media requests.

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Grant Holcomb is a reporter at the Florida Capital Star and the Star News Network. Follow Grant on Twitter and direct message tips.
Photo “Francis Suarez” by Mayor Francis Suarez. Background Photo “Classroom” by Wokandapix.






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