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Florida: ‘Where woke goes to die’; transgender bathroom ruling; remembering Rosewood

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks to the crowd after being sworn in to begin his second term during an inauguration ceremony outside the Old Capitol Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2023, in Tallahassee.
Lynne Sladky
Associated Press
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks to the crowd after being sworn in to begin his second term during an inauguration ceremony outside the Old Capitol on Jan. 3, 2023, in Tallahassee.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis was inaugurated for a second term this week. The ceremony happened just before the nation marked the second anniversary of the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

In his address, the governor laid into the federal government and Democratic-led states, portraying Florida as “a citadel for freedom.” Meanwhile, DeSantis is still downplaying speculation that he’s ramping up for a 2024 presidential bid.

Also in his address, the governor said Florida is the place where “woke goes to die.” That approach is playing out in academia in a big way.

Professors across the state say they’ve been forced to scrap courses altogether or scrub their curriculum of any references to materials the DeSantis administration says conflict with a new law.


  • John Kennedy, Florida Capitol reporter for Gannett.
  • Daniel Golden, senior editor and reporter at ProPublica.

Transgender in St. Johns County

After a five-year legal battle, a sharply divided federal appeals court has upheld a St. Johns County School Board policy that prevented a transgender male student from using the boys’ bathrooms at a high school.

In a 7-4 decision, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the policy didn’t violate the constitutional equal protection rights of Drew Adams. Adams was required to use a gender-neutral, single-stall bathroom or the girls’ bathrooms while he was a student at Nease High School.

The court’s majority also said the policy didn’t violate Title IX, a federal law that prevents discrimination based on sex in education programs.

The decision could set a widespread legal precedent.


  • Jim Saunders, executive editor of the News Service of Florida.
  • Nikole Parker, director of transgender equality at Equality Florida.

Remembering Rosewood, a century later

This month marks 100 years since the Rosewood massacre. In 1923, Black residents of the Levy County town fled as a white mob razed their houses and wiped their community off the map.

The violence began after a white woman in a nearby town accused a Black man of assault.

Eight people were killed, although some witnesses said the actual death toll was higher.

At the time, the massacre generated nationwide coverage, but for decades Rosewood victims remained silent. Their story disappeared until the 1980s.

In 1993, the Florida legislature commissioned a report on the Rosewood slaying that formed the basis of a claims bill to compensate victims.

In 1994, then Gov. Lawton Chiles signed a $2.1 million bill to compensate survivors and descendants of the victims.

Descendants, along with the University of Florida, are honoring the lives of those impacted by the Rosewood massacre in a series of events this week.

Today, the descendants of Rosewood families have reclaimed their ancestors’ stories and are using them to connect past to present in today’s politically and racially charged climate.

Guest: Lynn Hatter, news director at WFSU.

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Special Projects Producer Brendan Rivers joined WJCT News in August of 2018 after several years as a reporter and then News Director at Southern Stone Communications, which owns and operates several radio stations in the Daytona Beach area.