The community action group Movement for Change has been a fixture in Pensacola since the 1990's; officially established in 1997. Led by activist Leroy Boyd, who died in 2010, their original mission was the renaming of Pensacola’s Alcaniz Street in honor of slain civil rights icon Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Over the years, members of the organization have tackled numerous social justice issues, ranging from disparities in education, law enforcement, and the voting process.
In many ways, President Jerry McIntosh says Movement for Change has stayed the course as it relates to its vision and guiding principles. But he says members now are putting more focus on the state’s legislative process.
“You know laws that we thought effected people in various ways, such as restoration of rights for ex-felons after they’ve done their time and paid their restitution. We feel that they should get back on the road, so they can vote for the person of their choice, get licenses for businesses, and things like that.”
When it comes to education, Movement for Change is committed to increasing state and federal taxpayer spending on education, particularly to help young people go to college or access vocational training.
“Education: Impacting America Through Legislation” is the theme of the 14th Annual Freedom is Not Free banquet, set for 6:30 p.m. June 20 at It’s Personal by Sheila (2610 W. Cervantes Street).
The keynote speaker is Rep. Perry E. Thurston, Jr. (D-Ft. Lauderdale), who currently serves as the Minority Leader in the Florida House of Representatives. His remarks are expected to mirror many of Movement for Change’s priority issues. He’ll focus on his efforts to ensure education is properly funded, that ex-felons get their rights back. And, McIntosh says “He’s worked to support health care, health and (Medicaid) expansion, so that those individuals who fall between the cracks can have health coverage.”
Thurston’s visit to Pensacola also will give those who attend the banquet an opportunity to meet a candidate for State Attorney General. Thurston has officially qualified to run against incumbent Pam Bondi in the 2014 General Election. Democrat George Sheldon and Libertarian Party Candidate Bill Wohlsifer are also in the running.
McIntosh says Movement for Change believes it’s important to introduce Thurston and other legislators from across the state to give residents more access to the state legislative process.
“We are in the process of making sure we’re a part of writing legislation, not just sitting by and being bystanders,” says McIntosh.
More information about Movement for Change is available at http://movementforchange.org.