Florida’s corrections chief gets heat for his winding speech at Black History Month Luncheon

Department of Corrections Secretary Mark Inch spoke to a largely black audience at a Black History Month Luncheon in February. According to one listener, he described how he fought and distrusted black people while growing up. He also addressed the audience by saying that Americans should celebrate ‘Scottish Heritage Month’ in addition to Black History.

Following this, an internal complaint was filed about Inch’s remarks by Tiffany Gray who is a former FDC human resources employee. However, she was fired just over a month later.

But the state’s Commission on Human Relations which enforces the Florida Civil Rights Act and hears complaints about discrimination and retaliation recently came into action and urged the state to rehire her and came in support of her saying that she deserves whistle-blower status.

Florida’s corrections chief gets heat for his winding speech at Black History Month Luncheon
Florida’s corrections chief gets heat for his winding speech at Black History Month Luncheon

Although the government later asked the commission to reconsider upon. The termination letter dated March 27 states that she was being discharged based on ‘substandard quality of work’ and ‘conduct unbecoming of a public employee’. The department looked into this matter and she said that she learned of her firing on April 2.

Inch’s winding speech apparently included many anecdotes from his past, including one particular story wherein he described that he was being beaten up by the only black student in his class in elementary school.

He also narrated a story about his family welcoming a man from Nigeria and how his grandfather had remarked on how ‘clean’ he was. This was told explicitly by Gray.

She also said that Inch talked about visiting Nigeria and described the trip to be a ‘culture shock’ and said that it would be like if those in the room visited Norway. She also clarified that she along with the majority of the employees who attended the luncheon were black as well.

Concluding his speech on February 26, Inch had told the crowd that he wanted Americans to celebrate ‘Scottish Heritage Month’ in the same way as they’re celebrating Black History Month. Gray had filed a complaint on March 5 detailing her experience at the luncheon and said that there were nearly 25 black employees present at the luncheon along with seven or eight white employees. 




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