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'An attack on Black representation': A motorcade is traveling North Florida to protest redistricting map

Northside Coalition of Jacksonville organized the motorcade. Activists say the goal is to show the map is "an attack on Black representation and Black voters."

JACKSONVILLE, Fla — A motorcade of protesters is travelling from Jacksonville to Tallahassee Tuesday morning to protest Governor Ron DeSantis's new redistricting map.

Cars, vans and buses lined North Laura Street in Springfield, setting out to arrive at the capital in time for the special legislative session. 

The Northside Coalition of Jacksonville organized the motorcade. Activists say the goal of it is to show the governor and legislators the governor's redistricting plan is racist, unconstitutional, and "an attack on Black representation and Black voters."

"We're gonna let them know that we're not going anywhere so they may as well make the right decision because this is going to be a long battle and we're here for the long run," said protester Maceo Geroge. "They need to listen because we're not going anywhere."

The governor's proposed map would most likely eliminate two of Florida's minority access districts by reducing the number of districts where Black voters are a plurality. One of those districts is Florida's 5th Congressional District across North Florida, currently represented by Democrat Rep. Al Lawson. 

Desantis's map would break this district across two Republican-leaning districts. This would also make it easier for Republicans to win more House seats.

"This is against everything that so many people have fought so long and so hard for," said Northside Coalition of Jacksonville President Ben Frazier. "We're not going to take it. We want to be represented. He is supposed to be the governor, not just for some of the people, but for all of the people and we demand to hold him true to that democratic principle."

DeSantis is gearing up for a legal battle -- he's already been slapped with a federal lawsuit. DeSantis says he'll veto any map that doesn't break the 5th Congressional District and that he wants what he calls a "race neutral" map of districts.

"At the end of the day, what we propose, and the legislature will probably do something similar, we're confident that that will hold up in court," DeSantis said in Jacksonville Monday. "I am not confident the other way would have held up in court. And so that's just the nature of what we've got to do."

Republican leaders said they would support DeSantis's map, meaning his plans are expected to get approved.

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