Tuesday, July 07, 2020

Jacksonville clergy plead with city leaders to nix upcoming RNC convention. (T-U)

DONALD JOHN TRUMP's Coronavirus Suprespreader 2020 Republican National Convention needs to be cancelled. Amidst a spike in the pandemic in Florida, it is willful wanting recklessness to do otherwise.

The egos of DONALD JOHN TRUMP and RONALD DION DeSANTIS cloud their already-childlike judgment.

From Jacksonville's Florida Times Union:

Jacksonville clergy plead with city leaders to nix upcoming RNC convention

By Dan Scanlan
Posted Jul 6, 2020 at 12:53 PM
Florida Times-Union

Concerns about the rising coronavirus numbers, racial tension and potential cost to city residents prompted dozens of prominent Jacksonville clergy to ask city officials to rethink hosting the Republican National Convention here.

Almost 80 local clergy members and community leaders are urging Jacksonville officials to reconsider hosting the Republican National Convention on Aug. 25-27 at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena.

The reasons why the pastors want the convention to steer clear include not only the rapidly increasing number of coronavirus cases in Jacksonville, but also fears that ethnic tension and economic uncertainty “have exponentially amplified the level of anxiety in our society,” their group letter said.

All of these issues together also mean any economic benefit Jacksonville might get from the national event would be muted, the joint letter added.

“It is disingenuous to estimate that any convention would bring $100 million to Jacksonville when the city is burgeoning more diseases each day,” it said. “With the alarming, escalating numbers of COVID cases, more businesses are sure to close, be it temporarily or permanently.”

Republican Party officials did not respond to requests for comment on the letter. And mayor’s office spokeswoman Nikki Kimbleton would not comment to reporters on the letter, but will “respond to the pastors as we do everyone who contacts Mayor Curry and the administration.”

Clergy members decided Monday’s letter to city leaders was “The prudent thing to do,” said the Rev. Gary Williams of Hopewell Church in Mandarin.

“To use a really simple story, if you had the flu or have the virus, you would not invite someone home to dinner,” Williams said. ”... If both of you were sick, you would not invite them to dinner. It causes a problem to be amplified with what’s already going on. Every single day, the numbers of coronavirus are spiking high.”

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry aggressively lobbied to bring most of the convention to the city after North Carolina’s concerns about hosting a huge event during the pandemic. The Republican Party approved the move in early June.

The clergy letter points out that their’s is not the only correspondence evincing concerns over the virus, after a recent letter written by 200 physicians “decrying the medical irresponsibility of putting citizens at risk with such a lethal virus circulating in our city.” And soon after the convention announced its venue change, community leaders, lawmakers and members of the Duval County Democratic Party lobbied against the move in light of recent protests, the coronavirus and other issues.

Since the venue change was made, coronavirus test numbers and confirmed cases have risen dramatically in Jacksonville, Florida and the nation. Jacksonville invoked a new mask-wearing mandate on June 29. In the past week or so, officials in Fernandina Beach, Nassau County and St. Augustine, where convention members would be staying in hotels, also mandated that people wear a face mask or covering if they’e in a public indoor space and can’t practice social distancing.

Despite Florida’s second phase of reopening, those rising coronavirus numbers have seen Jacksonville and other area cities shut down bars again in the past week.

The pastors’ letter points out that the virus, as well as protests over the deaths of Black men by police in Jacksonville, Brunswick, Ga., and elsewhere have left many across our country “wrangling with life’s most unimaginable phobia.” Added to that is the fact that the final day of the convention, when the President Donald Trump would accept the presumed nomination, is also the 60th anniversary of Ax Handle Saturday in Jacksonville.

That was Aug. 27, 1960, when members of the NAACP’s Youth Council held a peaceful protest at a whites-only Woolworth’s lunch counter until they were spit on, then chased and hit with baseball bats and axe handles.

“To have the president of the United States accept his party’s nomination on August 27, `Ax Handle Saturday,′ which is one of the bloodiest days in our city’s history, is unthinkable!” the letter said. “This will set our city back decades.”

Dan Scanlan: (904) 359-4549

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