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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Legislator pushes bill apologizing for slavery

The Florida Senate could soon vote to formally apologize for the state's part in slavery.

Sen. Gary Siplin filed SR 2808 Monday, a resolution that would have the Senate express regret for slavery and its effects to both slaves and their descendants.

Siplin, a Democrat who represents parts of Orange and Osceola counties, said his constituents urged him to draw up the resolution, which he has been working on for about six months.

"In life in general where you make a mistake, it's always good to apologize," he said. "The Lord forgives anyone who apologizes."

The resolution is not meant to help solve racism, Siplin said.

"The only way to fix racism is educating people," he said.

But he said it would be a good reflection of other ways the country is moving past racism, such as Barack Obama's campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Florida would not be the first state to issue an apology for slavery, Siplin said. Virginia issued an apology in 2007, and since then several other states have discussed doing the same.

The states' histories have all brought harm to African-Americans, Siplin said, and an apology is necessary whenever harm has been done.

"I think it's holding back the state of Florida in terms of blessing from the Lord," Siplin said.

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