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Why I Protest: Sandria Foster

Protesters outside the Orlando Police Department Headquarters. Photo: Matthew Peddie, WMFE
Protesters outside the Orlando Police Department Headquarters. Photo: Matthew Peddie, WMFE

Sandria Foster grew up in Jamaica but she says she didn’t become aware of systemic racism until she moved to the United States.

Foster says as a resident of Ocoee she learned about the 1920s massacre that killed July Perry and at least 50 other African Americans.

She joined Ocoee’s Human Relations Diversity Board to help promote equality in the city, and more recently has attended rallies like one at Bill Breeze Park. 

90.7 WMFE spoke to Foster at a Juneteenth rally in Ocoee last Friday.


Read Foster's story here. 

And what I want to see is acknowledgement that a group of people built this country for free. For free.

A group of people were dispossessed of their land for free. And that has built untold wealth.

And then for these groups of people to be locked out of that wealth and not only that, but to be diminished and make them feel ashamed of who they are, even though they have been placed in untenable positions. Because people don't see everyone on the same level.

It's problematic, because it's a denial of who those people are. And it's a feeling of entitlement for the people in power.

So I love, you know, the frosting on the cake. And, you know, we gather together and we speak formalities. But show me. Show me that we're changing.

That change for me would look like for education because as you know, the education system the schools are funded by property taxes. So if you have a school, in a poor neighborhood, it's gonna be underfunded. You have a school in an affluent neighborhood and it gets great funding because the property taxes are higher.

We need to divorce property from school, have a centralized funding for schools where everybody gets the same education, same opportunities.

Okay, for health. I'm a nurse practitioner. I would like to see everybody have the same access to health care. Because when you're healthy you can produce, you can be a better employee, because you show up to work, you don't have to be spending time and money.

And remember that a lot of the people who are poor healthcare are the ones with poor incomes, so they can't afford to lose one day of work, they go in sick COVID. They still go in sick.

So level playing field for health care, a level playing field for education, just those two will give you a healthier society because if you think about it, countries that have universal health care have better health outcomes than the system that we have here, so there is a way to make sure that happens.

And then for policing just like any other profession, there needs to be a minimum, four-year college education, whatever the entry level is, whatever that degree is, whether it's psychology, whether it's humanities, whatever. And then, then you get policing training.

Find more stories about how Central Floridians are speaking out - and share your story here. 

If you’d like to listen to Foster’s story, click on the clip above.

Danielle Prieur covers education in Central Florida.