OCOEE, Fla. – In recent years, the city of Ocoee has taken steps to acknowledge its dark and deadly history, honoring the victims of the 1920 Ocoee Massacre. Now, the city is taking steps to move forward with diversity training held at the Women’s Club of Ocoee Wednesday.
November 2020 marked 100 years after what many called the deadliest Election Day massacre: The Ocoee Massacre, the day when dozens of African-Americans were killed by a white mob after Moses Norman tried to legally cast his ballot in the city.
The diversity and inclusivity training was led by the Florida League of Cities for city leaders in Ocoee, including the police chief, fire chief and senior staff. The effort was championed by the city’s first Black Commissioner, George Oliver, and supported by the city commission.
“When I get questions about the Ocoee Massacre, they want to know about the bad things that happened, as opposed to what we are doing to address them,” Oliver said. “This has been a long time coming. For the past couple of years, we’ve been asking for this and we had some roadblocks getting everyone under one roof to be able to have these conversations about race, diversity and inclusion, so I’m super excited about this.”
The group of city leaders were tasked to take on tough discussions, answering questions like, “Given Ocoee’s history and this moment in life in our nation, what do you need to do as a city and a community?”
“We’ve been able to take all the negative things and put them behind us and now we are looking at a bright new future for our city, a city with vision, a city that is inclusive, a city that bring folks together,” Oliver said.