Thursday, May 04, 2017

Fighting Florida's Racist Constitution

Systemic Discrimination in Florida


Did you know?
Can you do something about it?
Sure, you Can!

"All natural persons, female and male alike, are equal before the law and have inalienable rights, among which are the right to enjoy and defend life and liberty, to pursue happiness, to be rewarded for industry, to acquire, possess and protect property; except that the ownership, inheritance, disposition and possession of real property by aliens ineligible for citizenship may be regulated or prohibited by law.  No person shall be deprived of any right because of race, religion, national origin, or physical disability."
On the first reading, without paying attention to the underlined part, it looks OK.  But, if you look at the part underlined, which through the definition of Citizenship directly implies Asians, it creates a serious problem.  The Naturalization Act of 1870 limited US Citizenship to "white persons and persons of African descent"  thus effectively barring Asians from citizenship. 
This law is reminiscent of the Alien Land Laws enacted in 1913 in California, prohibiting Koreans to buy or lease farm lands.  This kind of restriction became a countrywide phenomenon where all the States in the union passed similar laws, including Florida in 1926.  Then some sanity prevailed, the California Supreme Court ruled these laws unconstitutional, and states started modifying these restrictions from 1956 onward. New Mexico did away with its restrictions in 2006.  Florida is the only State where these discriminatory and racist laws remain on the books. 
Florida does have a provision to revisit its Constitution with a view to revising it, every twenty years, through a Constitutional Revision Commission (CRC).    CRC was constituted again in 2017 and has begun its listening tour.
On Thursday, April 6, 2017 a presentation was made to the commission to repeal this law, often known as the Alien Land Law.   80-20 was part of the presentation.  More presentations of this kind are needed to appeal to the good sense of the CRC, emphasizing that such discriminatory & racist laws have no place in a civilized society like the USA.  The residents of the State of Florida can do it by writing to the CRC at or by making a presentation wherever the CRC is meeting.  Floridian Asians, this is your chance to get it fixed! In fact, for Asians to have a voice, it is essential that they be united.  
One of the easiest ways to do that is by joining 80-20 PAC, where a Volunteer Board keeps an eye on issues that negatively impact the welfare of the Asian Community.
To join 80-20, please follow the previous link, or click on 

Dr. Piyush C. Agrawal
80-20PAC Board Member