On Monday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a law that will require the state’s public schools to observe “Victims of Communism Day” on November 7 each year. After signing the legislation, DeSantis labeled Monday as a “blockbuster day for freedom”, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
The new law, which went into effect immediately, describes the day as being dedicated to “honoring the 100 million victims of communist regimes around the world.”
In addition, the law gives DeSantis the authority to extend observance of the day beyond public schools, as it requires that Victims of Communism Day “be suitably observed by public exercise in the State Capitol and elsewhere as the governor may designate,” the Tampa Bay Times reported.
President Trump designated November 7 as a remembrance day for communist victims in 2017. On November 5, 2019, Former Representative Dan Lipinski (D-IL), Founding Co-Chair of the Victims of Communism Caucus, introduced a House Resolution expressing support for the designation of November 7 as the annual “Victims of Communism Memorial Day.”
Trump then held an event in the Oval Office two days later. The delegation featured speakers who lived under communist regimes in Vietnam, Cuba and the Soviet Union.
Florida has a sizable population of Cuban exiles who fled the communist Castro regime. Many Floridians of Cuban descent praised the governor’s move, including U.S. Rep. Carlos A. Gimenez (R-FL).
“As a Cuban exile, I applaud @GovRonDeSantis for declaring November 7th as Victims of Communism Day,” Gimenez wrote in a tweet. “In Florida, our children will learn of the evil history of communism and the impact such a destructive ideology has had on so many around the world.”
As a Cuban exile, I applaud @GovRonDeSantis for declaring November 7th as Victims of Communism Day. In Florida, our children will learn of the evil history of communism and the impact such a destructive ideology has had on so many around the world. https://t.co/dDZbrqR4XQ
— Rep. Carlos A. Gimenez (@RepCarlos) May 9, 2022
DeSantis signed the measure at the Freedom Tower in Miami, where Cuban refugees who fled to South Florida in the 1960s were processed as they arrived in Florida.
“We want to make sure that every year folks in Florida, but particularly our students, will learn about the evils of communism. The dictators that have led communist regimes and the hundreds of millions of individuals who suffered and continue to suffer under the weight of this discredited ideology,” DeSantis said. The governor added that “a lot of young people don’t really know that much” about the horrors of communist regimes.
Under the law, lesson plans about various communist regimes throughout history and their leaders will be added to high school U.S. government courses. At least 45 minutes of required Victims of Communism Day instruction will be added to Florida public schools during the 2023-2024 school year.
In addition, the legislation will require the Florida Board of Education to adopt the new standards by April 2023.