On Monday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill designating Nov. 7 the “Victims of Communism Day” to commemorate the deaths of over 100 million people who have died as a direct result of communist policies worldwide.
In addition to designating the day of commemoration, DeSantis’ bill will require Florida schools to teach schools about the evils of communism. Under the landmark legislation, public schools must provide students enrolled in any Florida public school with at least 45 minutes of instruction about the dangers and results of communism starting in the 2023 school year.
“We want to make sure that every year folks in Florida, but particularly our students, will learn about the evils of communism, the dictators that have led communist regimes, and the hundreds of millions of individuals who’ve suffered and continue to suffer under the weight of this discredited ideology,” DeSantis stated at the signing ceremony.
According to DeSantis, the “Victims of Communism Day” will commemorate the “100 million people who have fallen victim to communist regimes across the world.”
In the event the occasion does not fall on a school day, local municipalities must designate another day for the event to be observed. In addition, the state school board is required to revise its social studies to incorporate lessons about the evils of communism.
As detailed by the text of HB 395, schools will be required to provide instruction on “topics such as Mao Zedong and the Cultural Revolution, Joseph Stalin and the Soviet System, Fidel Castro and the Cuban Revolution, Vladimir Lenin and the Russian Revolution, Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge, and Nicolás Maduro and the Chavismo movement, and how victims suffered under these regimes through poverty, starvation, migration, systemic lethal violence, and suppression of speech.”
DeSantis held the signing ceremony at the Freedom Tower, the historic landmark in Miami, Florida, which was originally used to host services for Cubans fleeing Fidel Castro’s communist regime. The Republican governor also announced $25 million in funding to help preserve and refurbish the building.
As home to over one million Cuban Americans, Florida’s Cuban population has received tremendous support from the DeSantis administration. In 2021, DeSantis signed civic education legislation mandating for the Department of Education to develop a curriculum to instruct students on the “evils of communism and totalitarian ideologies.”