Kamala Harris in Jacksonville live updates: VP coming to Northeast Florida on Friday

Vice President Kamala Harris will travel to Jacksonville on Friday, the day after Florida’s state Board of Education has approved new, separate standards for how African American history must be taught to millions of students, including, what Harris said Thursday in Indianapolis, that “middle school students will be taught that enslaved people benefited from slavery.”

Harris is expected to arrive at Jacksonville International Airport around 2:20 p.m. and speak at the Ritz Theatre and Museum in downtown’s LaVilla area this afternoon. Harris’s trip on Friday won’t be her first: In October 2020, she campaigned here as a Democratic presidential candidate, and in March 2021, as vice president, Harris toured a COVID-19 vaccination site.

‘America’s full and true history’:Why V.P. Kamala Harris is coming to Jacksonville Friday

Plane carrying Kamala Harris lands at JIA

Air Force Two, the plane carrying Vice President Kamala Harris, landed at Jacksonville International Airport at 2:15 p.m. Friday. Jacksonville Mayor Donna Deegan, dressed in a red pantsuit, greeted Harris as she deplaned the aircraft at 2:30 p.m. The pair talked briefly before Harris got into the SUV that will transport her to the historic Ritz Theatre, the site of her speaking engagement.

DeSantis, Florida GOP criticizes Harris’s Jacksonville visit as ‘stunt’

Before Kamala Harris landed in Jacksonville, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis criticized the vice president’s trip to Florida, tweeting, in part: “Democrats like Kamala Harris have to lie about Florida’s educational standards to cover for their agenda of indoctrinating students and pushing sexual topics onto children.”

GOP Chairman Christian Ziegler wrote: “Instead of visiting the border and stopping the millions of illegal aliens and fentanyl pouring across our border, The Border Czar has hopped on the first flight down to Florida in order to lecture Floridian parents that their children belong to the government and the government has a right to indoctrinate and sexualize our children. The government overreach on parental rights has already been overwhelmingly rejected in Florida, and we hope the other 49 states will join with us by telling the Biden Administration to go pound sand.”

Gary Mills

What is VP Harris expected to discuss in Jacksonville?

Press Secretary Kirsten Allen said on Twitter the vice president will “deliver remarks about the ongoing fight to protect fundamental freedoms, specifically, the freedom to learn and teach America’s full and true history.”

“We’re fighting back against attempts to gaslight us, cover up our history, and rewrite the horrors of slavery,” Harris said in a Tweet Thursday night.

Harris’s tweet and trip to Jacksonville follow the Florida Board of Education’s decision Wednesday to approve a new curriculum for African American history that critics say omits key historical facts. Opponents have argued the curriculum doesn’t describe Florida’s role in slavery and leaves out important information about the oppression of African Americans.

The decision came after months of criticism for the board’s decision to remove an Advanced Placement African American Studies class from Florida schools. The College Board altered the course, but Florida has still not yet approved it for the classroom.

– Steve Patterson

The Times-Union will update this live blog as more details become available.

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