ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Nearly a week after antisemitic demonstrations took place in Orange County, Florida Sen. Randolph Bracy is highlighting funding efforts to help protect the Jewish community in Central Florida.
The senator spoke at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Orlando in Maitland, along with representatives of the Jewish Federation of Greater Orlando.
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According to a release from Bracy’s office, the senator is “spearheading an initiative to fund rapid emergency response equipment for the Jewish Federation of Greater Orlando in the event of a crisis situation.”
“So the vulnerabilities that the Jewish communities can face sometimes, violence and hatred can sometimes pop up at any moment, randomly,” Bracy said. “And so I think it’s important that one, law enforcement act swiftly to address these kinds of hateful acts. But more than reacting from police, I think it’s important that we are proactive.”
The money, which would come from the state budget, will fund a special amplifier that will make sure signals are strong enough so that different communication devices, like walkie-talkies, can communicate clearly throughout the Jewish Community Center.
The amplifier is part of a proactive move to strengthen security.
Two separate antisemitic incidents in Central Florida happened within the last week in which self-proclaimed Nazis shouted antisemitic slogans outside a shopping plaza on Saturday and waved a swastika flag over a highway overpass on Sunday. Charges are pending against three people who are believed to be participants, according to Orange County Sheriff John Mina.
The three people facing forthcoming charges attended the rally at Waterford Lakes on Saturday near the University of Central Florida, the sheriff’s office said.
“Obviously, we went out there and again, we have to balance everyone’s right to freedom of speech, which can be very difficult for us, especially in those situations of hate speech,” Mina said during a news conference Tuesday. “And we know people in our community are upset by that. Our deputies are upset by what we saw this weekend.”
Bracy acknowledged that there were other facilities that could be vulnerable to attacks, but this was just the start of what Bracy said would be a true partnership to protect the Jewish community from anti-semitism.
If the initiative is approved in the state budget, it still would need to be approved by Gov. DeSantis, who could use his line item veto to remove it from the budget.