James Morton, a member of the Duval County Democratic Black Caucus (DCDBC), and the Democratic Black Caucus of Florida (DBCF) have filed a complaint asking for the immediate resignation of Duval County Democratic State Committeeman John Parker for racist comments he made after a Duval County Democratic meeting Jan. 22.
Morton is an active member of the local Democratic Party serving as DCDBC treasurer, Duval County Democratic Party chairman of District 10 and coalition coordinator for District's 12, 14.
According to a written statement distributed Sunday to Democratic Black Caucus members, after the Jan. 22 Duval County Democratic Party meeting, Morton patronized a restaurant with two other black men. According to a DCDBC press statement, he was "mortified by comments from State Committeeman John Parker about “coloreds” and “sh*t being f**ked up after integration.”
Morton and others expressed to Parker that the use of the term “colored people” and associated comments about desegregation in schools, were "inappropriate and hate speech," the statement claimed. Parker then "doubled down by saying, 'Ha, this is where I'm at,' ... and did not see anything wrong with his comments.”
“I've tried to turn a blind eye to the disrespect, sexism, fascism, and racism for the sake of the party. On several occasions, both on the local and state level, I've tried not to pile on the already fragile Democratic Party, and not air our dirty laundry in the media and in the court of public opinion,” revealed Morton.
“I have done my best to respect the party and all of the people that come freely to participate and give to the process of electing democrats that support democratic values. I'm asking now that the party do the same for me and its members.” Morton remarked.
Lydia Hudson, president of the Democratic Black Caucus of Florida, said, “The Democratic Party prides itself on being an inclusive party that respects all people and fights for what is right. Too often this inclusive party has found that its leadership does not boldly embody the principles and best practices."
She continued, “I don't feel this is appropriate, inclusive, respectful or appropriate conversation for party leadership to have had.
“I'm asking for the immediate resignation of Committeeman John Parker, not only for his comments and behavior, but also for his ignorance and unwillingness to simply apologize at the time for comments made to members of the party that have been impacted by his comments and feelings,” concluded President Hudson.
This isn’t new, says the Duval Black Caucus. Caucus members have witnessed Parker's racist comments over the years -- for example, disparaging remarks about the “Working People Caucus as the Poor Black Working People Caucus.”
The DCDBC names several people who bore witness to Parker's comments on Jan. 22: James Joseph Morton; Diallo Sekou Seabrooks, candidate for City Council; and Daniel Henry, secretary of the Duval County Democratic Party, Florida -- all African-Americans. Others in attendance were Lisa King, chair of the Duval County Democratic Party, John Parker, Cameron McCall, Mary Beth McCall, and Jessie Caudill.
FDP Communications Director Caroline Rowland told Sunshine State News, "The party takes all formal complaints seriously. Once we receive a complaint, the judicial committee will conduct a full review.”
Leslie Wimes, president of the Democratic African American Women Caucus, said the Duval County incident should come as no surprise.
"The Democratic Party has consistently portrayed itself as a 'safe place' for African Americans. A place where we can expect respect and equality," Wimes said. "They have been inconsistent in actually displaying safety, respect and equality. Sadly, I'm not surprised by John Parker's comments, and I won't be surprised by FDP's inaction."
The Democratic Black Caucus of Florida was established in 1983, to unite and increase the political power for Black Democrats who went unnoticed. The Caucus is an integral part of the Florida Democratic Party’s infrastructure, which has the express mission of uniting talent with opportunity to facilitate voter building through educational forums effecting voter registration drives (EVRD), get out the vote. The media statement says DBCF represents 32 percent of the 4.8 million Democrats in Florida.
Reach Nancy Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 228-282-2423. Twitter: @NancyLBSmith.