With pressure mounting against John Parker for racially-tinged and otherwise inappropriate comments made in January after a Duval County Democratic Executive Committee meeting, Parker on Wednesday resigned both leadership positions he held with the Democratic Party.
"Today, I accepted the resignation of John Parker as state committeeman and DNC member," said Lisa King, local party chairperson and Parker's wife. "I do this with the certainty that it is the right thing for our party. Although he has dedicated over 35 years of service, his statements and actions necessitated his departure."
As first reported by Sunshine State News, King was with Parker in the Jacksonville restaurant Jan. 22 when he referred to "colored people" and "sh*t being f**ked up after integration."
Speaking in a written statement, she said, "I firmly believe in servant leadership, and as chair, I must serve all our members. I have demonstrated my commitment to leading our party, even when it is at odds with those closest to me.
"All of our members deserve a party that prioritizes and models diversity and respect. I am committed to creating this culture and am confident that we will work together to create equity and respect for all.
"As we move forward as a party, I'm committed to unifying our membership and fighting for successes in the upcoming elections," she said.
But social media is alight with calls for King's resignation as well.
On his Facebook page, Jacksonville resident Jimmy Deininger (who also goes by Jimmy Thomas) wrote in large white letters within a blue box, "Today Mr. John Parker and Lisa King become a #nationaldisgrace for Democrats ... Enough is Enough! This is what Democracy looks like!" Below, he continued, "(Lisa King) must go as well -- her silence and inaction for two months speaks volumes to her 'service.'"
Opio Lumumba Sokoni, also from Jacksonville, said of King, "She threw her husband under the bus and did not leave with him."
Connell Bam Crooms sees the incident as, perhaps, an opportunity for a clean sweep. "I had thought this morning, will this impact Florida DNC rules about super delegates in the future? It should," he said. "... The local Dems have time and again expressed their aversion to change ..."
Besides King, Parker's letter of resignation was addressed to Tom Perez, Democratic National Committee chair, and Terrie Rizzo, Florida Democratic Party chair.
Rizzo also issued a statement on Parker's resignation. "Along with DEC Chair Lisa King, I also asked John Parker to resign," she said. "I believe him stepping down from his post is the right thing to do."
Wrote Parker, "The past several weeks have been a challenging time as mistakes and a misstatement I made, and apologized for, have been misunderstood and give the impression I am something I am not.
"... I am confident that a full investigation would have shown that I erred with my mouth, not my heart. I am not what some are portraying me to be, and although I would have preferred the opportunity for due process, I have decided it is best to put our party and overarching goals ahead of this."
Said Leslie Wimes, president of the Democratic African American Women Caucus of Florida, "It shouldn't take the media to make the party do the right thing. ...
"But, while John Parker's resignation didn't happen as swiftly as it should have, I'm glad to see it occur. When confidence in leadership is gone, that leadership should be gone. The party should have a zero tolernce for racism. I hope to see that reality one day."
Reach Nancy Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 228-282-2423. Twitter: @NancyLBSmith