BROWARD (CBSMiami) – Broward County State Sen. Lauren Book filed a bill Friday to eliminate Florida’s confederate holidays.
Florida has three legal holidays that honor the confederacy and its leaders. The first term senator believes it’s time for that to change.
“During a time when the country is completely divided, I think we look at celebrating our unique coming together instead of some of the things that kind of create hate and divisive environments,” Book told CBS4.
Book is not talking about removing Christmas or Thanksgiving, rather she wants Florida to drop the observance of the birthdays of Robert E. Lee, Confederate President Jefferson Davis and Confederate Memorial Day.
These state holidays are not paid days off, but nonetheless recognized.
“Why are we celebrating and putting some folks on a pedestal, that declared war on own country. That is what that’s about. That’s what that was,” Book said.
Book’s bill joins a nationwide movement to take down confederate statues.
In recent weeks, the violence in Charlottesville moved the debate into the spotlight.
“Robert E. Lee himself did not want to be memorialized. He did not want people celebrating him or the civil war,” she explained.
Some argue though the monuments, and perhaps Florida’s holidays, remind us of our past.
Book argues the holidays are not serving that purpose.
“I think it is a good reminder to have. I think one of the most important things ‘Less we forget. We cannot repeat.’ And we are not asking people to not remember these things but let’s not celebrate them. Let’s not put them on a pedestal, some of the darkest times in our history. When we were at war with ourselves. In a place where we were fighting for something that’s terrible,” she said.
In Florida, a state that gets more Southern as you move north, it is unclear how the legislature will react.
“I’m hopeful. I think we are in a different place and a different time in our state,” Book said.