I’m a 57 year old white man living in Lake County Florida, just a few miles from Groveland and I’ve spent most of my life in the central Florida area. I think that it is important to acknowledge how much better things are now, compared to 1949. At the same time, it’s equally important to recognize the problems that still exist and the lingering affects of institutional injustices that went on for so many generations. Hopefully this pardon provides some amount of solace for the families of the Groveland Four. Unfortunately, with the passage of time there is no longer any ability to obtain justice for the Groveland Four themselves. The admission of wrong doing by officials in this community is important for those of us that are here now. As we attempt to move forward towards the community, state, and country that we are capable to being, we cannot forget where we came from not so very long ago. The injustices committed against the Groveland Four are just extreme examples of a shamefully unjust system that was so ingrained in every aspect of public, private, and commercial life, that few could see it ever really changing. As we celebrate finally having a public admission of the crimes committed against these four individuals, it is equally important to remain aware of injustices that were being committed every day against an oppressed minority. We have come far enough in the last 70 years that those of us that want to see it, can see a time when equal justice for all is a reality for everyone in this country. To get there we have to be diligent in our efforts to move forward and we have to be both honest and complete about our past. Right now, we need to be very strong in dealing with the resurgent voice of those that would take us back to 1949. While those with a mentality that would actually take us back to the disgusting practices, policies, and laws of the past are fairly small in number, their message is insidious and can spread like a cancer as it seeks to wedge it’s way into any small crack that develops between otherwise right thinking people.
Thank you for the opportunity to share some of my perspective!