Florida Politics | By Anne Geggis | May 5, 2022
The legislation sets aside a remembrance day and requires students learn the human cost of communism.
Legislation that requires students to learn about the suffering inflicted by communism was one of 17 bills that landed on Gov. Ron DeSantis’ desk Thursday.
With the Governor’s signature, he and succeeding Governors would declare Nov. 7 ”Victims of Communism Day.” That is the anniversary of the day in 1917 when Vladimir Lenin stormed the Russian capital to overthrow the government. It ignited a worldwide movement.
The bill called for honoring the 100 million victims of communist regimes around the world.
The legislation (HB 395) enjoyed unanimous approval in both the House and the Senate.
Miami-area Republican Reps. David Borrero and Alex Rizo sponsored the legislation in the House and Republican Sen. Manny Diaz Jr. introduced it in the Senate. The Senate adopted the House version as it moved toward full legislative approval.
As the state’s new Education Commissioner, Diaz will be overseeing another aspect of the bill: rewriting social studies standards so that high school students in American government class receive at least 45 minutes on the suffering that communism caused starting in the 2023-24 school year.
Cuba’s Fidel Castro, Russia’s Lenin and Joseph Stalin, Venezuela’s Nicolás Maduro, Cambodia’s Pol Pot and China’s Mao Zedong are the figures mentioned in the legislation that aims to ensure students learn, “how victims suffered under these regimes through suppression of speech, poverty, starvation, migration and systemic lethal violence.”
Miami Democratic Sen. Annette Taddeo, who fled Colombia as a child, was among those who rose to support the legislation and thanked Diaz for introducing the measure.
“Any victim of communism knows very much that we need to learn from the experiences of the victims (of communism) and we should teach it and we should celebrate the fact that we talk about it, that we are willing to teach our kids about it,” she said.
Some of the committee discussions involved polls of young people that show them viewing socialism in a more positive light.