WILLIAM KORACH: "Angry" and "resent[ful]"
Last month, nine out of ten members of our St. Johns County Commission and School Board roundly rejected Republican and Tea Party efforts to violate our Fifteenth Amendment and the Voting Rights Act by diluting minority voting strength in District 2, which embraces both the Town of Hastings and West Augustine.
It takes a village.
American Legion Post 194, the NAACP and other progressives exposed the scheme.
Only after Judith Seraphin and I complained to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and the Justice Department did the School Board support the status quo, against efforts to divide two related communities from each other, which would have given African-Americans less than 10% of the voters in District 2.
One School Board member (WILLIAM FEHLING, R-PONTE VEDRA), voted in favor of the Tea Party and Republican demand to destroy minority strength. Four other school board members listened to reason and rightly changed their minds. I salute them.
This week, the School Board finally provided documents that I had requested last year under the Open Records Act. The documents illustrate the pressures upon our School Board from those misguided souls who wanted to suppress African-American voting rights in a district that was once segregated by State law and local practice, and is under a consent decree with the United States District Court.
One of the E-mails refers to the “ACLU,” which never took a position.
Both of the E-mails are illustrative of the empty and inflammatory rhetoric that is spewed by those who would still divide our community and violate the Constitution of the United States. Those who tried to bully our County into violating the Fifteenth Amendment curiously used the term “bully” and “power play” to describe those who supported maintaining the status quo (14% African-American residency in District 2). Listen to their anger. Learn from them.
Below is the text of two of those E-mails (the first from a Tea Party member and the second from the “publisher” of an Internet website attacking school systems for respecting diversity and equality):
Text of first irascible E-mail:
As a citizen of St. Johns County I want to thank you for sticking to your vote of Map C revised and to let you know that you have many more citizens standing with you than you probably know about. We admire you and thank you for not allowing the BOCC to intimidate (sic) and bully (sic) you into changing your mind. Your hard work with the St. Johns County School Board is very appreciated.
Stand firm, thank you,
Text of second irascible E-mail:
Dear Mrs. Wright; (sic)
As a resident in your school district, I want you to know that I support Map C, that (sic) was approved for the benefit of ALL (sic) of the county school families. I resent the interference (sic) of the outsiders (sic) to play (sic) a race card (sic) where no racial issues exist. (sic)
I also resent what appears to be a pure power play (sic) by the ACLU (sic) and other outsider (sic) as there is no apparent benefit to anyone by their scheme (sic). I am also angry with the County Commissioners who support the new gerrymandered (sic) map J in an attempt to appease outsiders where there is no issue at all.
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