50 Seminole County officials sign pledge to take stand against racism

VIDEO: 50 Seminole County officials sign pledge to take stand against racism

SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. — Seminole County and its seven cities are taking a stand against racism.

Fifty out of 59 officials have signed a pledge against racism and prejudice, saying they also appreciate the work and dedication of the vast majority of law enforcement.

Read the full pledge below:

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Among the signatures of those pledging to combat racism and prejudice are commissioners, the sheriff, school board members, council members and mayors.

“As leaders in the community signing our names to that is an important promise to everyone that we believe in equality and I was very proud,” Altamonte Springs City Manager Frank Martz said.

Martz said he sent the pledge to 59 officials throughout the county and its cities. Martz says he was impressed to get as many signatures as he did in such a short time.

“It’s time for us to say how we feel on an issue our community needs to know where we stand,” Martz said.

No one from the city of Winter Springs signed the pledge except for Mayor Charles Lacey.

City Commissioner Kevin Cannon and City Manager Shawn Boyle told Eyewitness News that the discussion must be had by the City Commission in a public forum prior to signing any document that would clearly be a representation of the city’s legislative body, and that doing so may be a violation of the City’s Code of Conduct for its elected officials.

Cannon and Boyle said they are prepared to discuss policies on diversity and inclusion at the July 13 City Council meeting.

Martz said he disagrees, and if that were the case, commissioners in Winter Springs would have to discuss every ribbon-cutting and speaking arrangement commissioners attend in a public forum.

“Racism is persistent and it requires people who have been blessed with the ability to sit on a dais to say this is wrong,” Martz said.

Oviedo City Councilwoman Judith Delores Smith also did not sign the pledge.

She told Eyewitness News, “I will not sign anything that will even suggest that I support “Black Lives Matter”, a group whose founder says that they are “trained Marxists” and a group who appears to be at war with Police Forces worldwide.”

The pledge does not mention the Black Lives Matter group.

“We needed to say something, silence is corrosive on the issue of race and discrimination,” Martz said.