Jan 21, 2016
To All Cabinet Members
Subject: The Dozier Property
I read Commissioner Adam Putnam's remarks about the Dozier property and second chances. I would have to agree with him on that. Speaking
before the audience at the Sealing of the Whitehouse Ceremony in 2008, I noticed a group of young people in front of me. Their expression was
one of surprise when I spoke of flogging. I realized they did not know what had taken place in that small building they passed every day. Can you
hold a town guilty forever? For those young people's sake I hope not.
I had a second chance in life, if something could be done, a lease, something within reason, I would hope this could happen, for there are those in
Marianna who should not have to endure endless blame for what their elders did long ago.
The State has allotted funds for the families to help them rebury their children. No one wants the boys to be sent back to the Dozier cemetery. Perhaps
the state will help with that and a monument is very important, this remarkable seven year journey should not be forgotten.
Professor Erin Kimmerle, Dr. Christian Wells and their team, found the boys and much was learned. Some have gone home at last. What happened in
the past cannot be undone. Now is the time for reconciliation. There is a brighter future ahead for us all, if we only pursue it.
After decades of silence, these boys bodies would not lie quiet, nor were their voices stilled. They were brought once again to the light of day. What
cannot be accomplished when the hands of many seek truth and justice “and may all who know of this story be warned” Children buried, unmarked
and unknown, may live again, their bodies testify, as did these, Florida's saddest chapter in the care of juveniles.
A monument should be built as a place of re-burial with reverence, a place relatives living, and those not yet born, may come to honor these boys, a
structure they may touch and interact with. Their lives were lost during a grim time from Florida's past, but they also cry out with caution, to the present
and future, “Our wayward youth should not suffer cruelty but be taught with compassion what is right and proper. The whip and other devices used
solely to create pain has no place in our society, not today and hopefully never again.”
These boys lives were not lost in vain for their story changed the laws of juvenile justice in Florida and their monument should be a shining reminder
that decades of darkness cannot hide all things. May their many candles burn brightly and may other candles be lit for the boys that may never be found.
It is better to extend a hand than raise a fist, forgiveness is only for the strong