Andrew Gillum, a Florida governmental candidate, stopped in his hometown of Gainesville Monday at Mt. Pleasant United Methodist Church to meet and talk with supporters.


Andrew Gillum wants to keep making August 28 a notable date for Black political history.

On the same day, Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech 55 years ago.

Barack Obama accepted his nomination at the 2008 Democratic National Convention.

On Tuesday, Gillum hopes to continue making history and be win the Democratic primary, pushing him a step closer to being Florida’s first black governor.

The Tallahassee mayor stopped in Gainesville as a part of his statewide “Bring It Home” bus tour in the hope of securing last-minute votes.

“Democracy is not a spectator sport,” Gillum said. “We can’t win if we don’t fight.”

The campaign team held a gathering at Mount Pleasant United Methodist Church Monday morning. About 100 people crowded into the fellowship hall to hear Gillum speak, including people who knew him from when he grew up in Gainesville.

Gillum’s wife, R. Jai Gillum, said the community welcomed him home like a son.

Michelle Sherfield, a Gainesville resident, remembers Andrew Gillum when he was student body president at Gainesville High School. Even then, she said she knew he was destined for politics.

“He is what Florida needs,” Sherfield said. “He understands working people because he is from working people.”

Among his other platform points, Gillum hopes to get rid of Florida’s “stand your ground” law, which he says disproportionately targets people of color.

“‘Stand your ground’ has no place in civilized society,” he said. “I feel this issue so deeply as a father of two black boys.”

Following his speech at the church, Gillum stopped at the Plaza of the Americas to meet with UF students and encourage them to exercise their right to vote.

Gillum said he’s working to get people age 18 to 25 more involved in the primaries because he believes young people can make a definitive difference in the outcome.

About 125 students were eager to get pictures with him, ask questions or express their support. Gillum said part of his being at UF is to show that students truly matter.

“I think too often we take students’ votes for granted,” he said.

Saja Hussein, a UF political science and international studies freshman, attended the rally to support Gillum because he is the only candidate she feels is truly standing for progressive values, she said.

“I felt he was as good a speaker as some of the best orators in America, along the lines of Obama himself and many other people who actually have a true raw talent to speak to people,” she said.

Contact McKenna Beery at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @mckennabeery

Contact Jess Curbelo at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @jesscurbelo

Jessica Curbelo, a UF journalism junior, is one of the Alligator's crime reporters. She is also a senior editor for Her Campus UFL.