New Florida Majority prides itself on being an independent, grassroots organization, led by the people. We know that our volunteers drive a lot of the hard and important work that we do. These are the everyday people – turned social justice warriors, on the ground lifting their voices against the injustices faced by marginalized communities. Whether it be an issue of affordable housing, criminal justice, climate, or the fight for a more inclusive and just democracy, we know how important it is for our volunteers to be rooted in these issues as they fight to build a powerful new vision for our families and our communities. We’d be remiss if we didn’t uplift the work that our volunteers in both Jacksonville and Miami are doing every day to support the mission of our organization.
Today, we are highlighting the work of April LaNubian Roberts, a community volunteer since 2007. We interviewed April below on her experience with NewFM and what continues to drive her to do this work.
Q: How long have you been volunteering in Jacksonville?
A: I’ve been volunteering since 2007, during the Obama election. I moved here from California, when I got here, I found out how everything works in this city and I was appalled. I was appalled at the lack of education and how divided people were here. I made it my job to talk to people that are black and Hispanic and put them up on what’s happening in the city. I really realized how bad things were when I started registering people to vote. People didn’t feel like they had a voice. I was appalled by how people were getting murdered by the police. In my neighborhood, black men were being gunned down and I didn’t see a presence of activists. People have been through so much in the south and they don’t see the change that can happen through the political process. I felt and still like Jacksonville needs people that are educated and passionate about making the city better because the city has great potential. Since I live here and my children live here we’re going to do what we can to make things better.
Q: What issues are you most passionate about?
A: I am most passionate about rights restoration. When my husband was 19 he got his first and only felony. When I met him, he was going through the restoration process in California. Once he got his rights restored, it changed him. He was able to go to school, get federal loans. He used to be so embarrassed when he had to check the felony box. I thought about not being with him because of how I felt like it would limit him and us. I’ve been with my husband for 21 years, he’s never broken the law since that one mistake. He’s home, takes care of the children. I know that people can be reformed. I know that people can make a mistake and move forward in life. People shouldn’t be penalized for one mistake over and over again.
Q: What do you like about NewFM?
A: They have a lot of different things that they do in the community. I saw them actively in the community and I was able to make a choice on whether or I not I wanted to join them based on me seeing them everywhere. I love the fact that NewFM goes out and registers people to vote because that is super crucial to making sure that things are fair across the board. I love the diversity of NewFM, you’ve got all types of people from all walks of life that are involved. I like that they take an interest in the North and East side. These are areas that are impoverished and don’t have a lot of community outreach.
Q: What is your role with NewFM now?
A: I am still a volunteer. I really love the people, they have a progressive thought process and I’m excited about that. I see them working towards making a better Florida.
Q: What transformation would you like to see in Jacksonville?
A: I’d like to see Jacksonville become a more united city. People say that it’s a melting pot but it’s truly not. I’d also like to see people not be so oppressed by state laws. I would like to see them bring the East side back to it’s glory. I want them to distribute the funds the way that it should be. I want the city to be progressive because it’s not.
I work on these issues every day that I wake up. I go to sleep thinking about what am I going to do tomorrow to make Jacksonville and Florida a more comfortable place for me and my kids to live. I am committed to being here as a constituent and as an activist. I’m committed to seeing a change happen. I feel like this is my purpose. I’m in it for the long haul because it’s gona be great in another 10 years. This will be a place that I will be proud of. My legacy will have Jacksonville all over it.
Interested in volunteering with NewFM? Click here to sign up today!