Readout of Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke’s Trip to Florida

Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division traveled to Jacksonville, Florida, on Oct. 19 to continue the division’s tour to engage with stakeholders in underserved communities and reaffirm the department’s commitment to protecting the civil rights of all Americans.

In the morning, Assistant Attorney General Clarke joined Attorney General Merrick B. Garland and U.S. Attorney Roger Handberg for the Middle District of Florida to announce a $9 million agreement with Ameris Bank to resolve allegations that the bank engaged in a pattern or practice of redlining predominantly Black and Hispanic neighborhoods in Jacksonville, Florida. Since 2021, the department has secured 10 resolutions and over $107 million in relief for communities of color nationwide. Read her full remarks here.

After the announcement, Assistant Attorney General Clarke and U.S. Attorney Handberg held a meeting with community leaders and stakeholders to discuss the agreement with Ameris Bank, as well as other civil rights issues, including hate crimes, law enforcement accountability, voting rights and LGBTQI+ rights.

In the afternoon, Assistant Attorney General Clarke visited the Pace Center for Girls, a nationally recognized day program that offers counseling, academic and life-skills services for girls ages 12-17 who are at risk of entering the juvenile justice system or experiencing difficulties at home or school. There, she spoke to a group of young girls about the Justice Department’s work to protect civil rights, efforts to advance equity for women and girls and her career in public service. She encouraged the girls to continue to strive for academic excellence and also toured the campus with Executive Director Chantell Miles and other program leadership. 

Assistant Attorney General Clarke concluded her trip at Edward Waters University, the state of Florida’s first historically Black college. There, she and U.S Attorney Handberg met with President Dr. Zachary Faison Jr. and student leaders. She commended the school leadership, faculty, campus officers and the students for their resilience during the moments preceding the tragic Aug. 26 shooting at a nearby Dollar General store. Assistant Attorney General Clarke also detailed the department’s efforts to prosecute hate crimes through the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, and underscored efforts to promote prevention and education through the department’s United Against Hate initiative.

Assistant Attorney General Clarke and U.S. Attorney Handberg at a meeting with Jacksonville community leaders and stakeholders.
Assistant Attorney General Clarke addressing students at the Pace Center for Girls.
Assistant Attorney General Clarke and U.S. Attorney Handberg with students and faculty of Edward Waters University.

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