Professor of English Rudy Darden represented Valencia’s Peace and Justice Institute during “A Conversation on Race in Central Florida” on Channel 9 on Tuesday, June 23, 2020.
The live, one-hour special brought together a diverse panel of Central Florida elected officials, law enforcement officers, civil rights attorneys, activists and religious leaders for a candid conversation about racial inequality. In addition to Rudy, the panel included: Orange County Sheriff John Mina; Orlando police Chief Orlando Rolón; Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings; Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer; Noel Carter, who was convicted of battery on a law enforcement officer after video showed Orlando police officers kicking him outside a nightclub; Activist Jaz Bennett; Civil Rights Attorney Natalie Jackson, Civil Rights Attorney Howard Marks; Orange-Osceola County State Attorney Aramis Ayala; Pastor Tim Johnson of Orlando World Outreach Center; State Sen. Randolph Bracy; State Rep. Geraldine Thompson; State Rep. Anna Eskamani; and State Sen. David Simmons.
“As we think about moving forward, I’ve heard a lot of things that focus on reform, that focus on moving forward, without actually identifying the quote, un-quote bad apples that continuously allow themselves to represent the entire police force,” Rudy said. “If we can find a way to hold sheriffs accountable to reviewing the disciplinary records; if we can find a way for the community to hold the sheriffs accountable beyond taking a knee and really engaging in the community to provide justice … that’s one pathway to start moving forward.”
After sharing his thoughts, Rudy was asked to be an ongoing contributor to Channel 9 and, most recently, shared his ideas on the 6 p.m. news on Monday, June 29, 2020.