Black Lives Matter

House Moves Forward On Violent Protest Crackdown

Mar 3, 2021
Jennie McKeon/WUWF Public Media

Republican lawmakers are pushing ahead with a controversial proposal that seeks to crack down on violent protests, make it more difficult for local governments to trim spending on law enforcement and enhance penalties related to riots and injuries to police officers.

Gov. Ron DeSantis first sketched out the law-and-order plan last year, following widespread protests throughout the country over racial inequities in policing and other aspects of American life.

Geoff Livingston/Flickr

After watching the pro-Trump extremists storm the U.S. Capitol Wednesday, with little to no resistance from police, local activists are calling out the double standards between that mob and the Black Lives Matter protestors who were often met with tear gas and arrests. 

WUWF Public Media

The year 2020 is almost coming to an end. The year was packed — with a pandemic, an active hurricane season, civil unrest, Confederate monuments and beaches closing and reopening. As we look toward 2021, here's a look back at the stories that resonated in 2020. 

Over 700 people have signed an online petition to allow discussions on race in the classroom after it was reported that excerpts from the book “White Fragility” were removed from a high school’s curriculum.

The man who was carried across the Pensacola Bay Bridge on the hood of a vehicle is invoking Florida’s self-defense statute in his defense.

On June 7, while helping block the Pensacola Bay Bridge an SUV – later found to be driven by Nathan Matusz, drove into the crowd, forcing Uphaus onto the hood.

Attorney Chris Klotz represents Jason Uphaus, who last month was part of the “Black Lives Matter” protest at the 17th Street railroad trestle and Bay Bridge.

Rachael Pongetti/Courtesy Photo

People facing criminal charges for demonstrating are being offered pro-bono legal aid from a Pensacola law firm.

Eric Stevenson and Chris Klotz of Stevenson Klotz are among a number of attorneys in Florida who are volunteering time to protect citizens’ rights for peaceful assembly, in connection with protests over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, as well as other instances of police misconduct nationwide.

Courtesy Photo

Residents of Niceville have added their voices to the calls for equal justice for African-Americans. 

Sunday afternoon, hundreds of protesters gathered and marched from Niceville City Hall to the city’s skate park in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. It was a “perfect” protest, said Niceville Police Chief David Popwell. 

“It was very orderly; there were no issues,” he said. 

Except for the calls he received about signs. 

Jennie McKeon/WUWF Public Media

Undeterred by rain, protests continued in DeFuniak Springs and Navarre Sunday bringing together hundreds of people waving signs and chanting against police brutality and systemic racism. 

About 500 people gathered at Harbeson Field and walked a half mile to Wayside Park, across the street from DeFuniak City Hall, waving signs and chanting “No Justice, No Peace.” Some cars driving by honked in appreciation. One man in an orange tractor gave a friendly wave. 

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An administrator for Community Health Northwest Florida was fired Friday after multiple racist Facebook posts attributed to her page came to light. 

Connie Chastain Bednar was an administrator and HIPAA Privacy Office according to her LinkedIn page. Screenshots from Bednar’s personal Facebook page started circulating Thursday night. In a statement on the Community Health Northwest Florida Facebook page Friday morning, the organization stated Bednar was terminated without naming her. 

The Race and Reconciliation group is moving forward with its community conversations about race and racism in Pensacola. They’re beginning a new Cross-Cultural Education Series this Thursday night at the Bowden Building downtown.

Julie Patton, an instructor in the UWF Social Work Department, joined with some friends and colleagues to form the Race & Reconciliation group.

Lindsay Myers

On the heels of Donald Trump’s inauguration, hundreds of thousands of people gathered on the National Mall Saturday for the Women’s March on Washington. The event was organized as a grassroots movement to stand against Trump and for women’s rights and a variety of other causes.

In solidarity, “sister marches” were held in cities across the country, including Pensacola.

Picking up on Hillary Clinton’s campaign mantras, chants of “More love, less hate” and “Love trumps hate” filled the air as the marchers proceeded through downtown Pensacola.

Tre'Von Ware / University of West Florida

The second in a series of community workshops titled “Racial Tension: Cooling the Fires” is set for this Thursday, October 20, in downtown Pensacola. The event will be held at the J. Earle Bowden Building, 120 Church Street, from 6:00-8:00 p.m.

The workshops were initiated by the UWF Department of Social Work to focus on systemic racial problems in Escambia County.