By Lauren Victoria Burke
NNPA Newswire Contributor
On June 29, former Florida prosecutor Aramis Ayala, was endorsed by NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal. Ayala is running for the congressional seat to be vacated by Rep. Val Demings as she runs in 2022 for the U.S. Senate against incumbent Republican Marco Rubio. Ayala was the state attorney for the Ninth Judicial Circuit Court in Florida.
“This moment in our country’s history calls for bold action and principled leadership. We need a fighter. We need an MVP. We need Aramis Ayala. I’ve known Aramis for a while, and she’s always been a fighter for justice willing to take on the status quo. I’m proud to support her campaign for Congress, and I’m asking you to join me,” O’Neal said in a statement.
A June 2017 video of Aramis Ayala being stopped by police went viral. At the time of the police stop, Ayala was the only Black prosecutor in Florida. In the video Ayala calmly asks why she was being stopped and informs the officer that she is the state’s attorney. The video of the stop was viewed on the internet over 800,000 times.
In accepting the endorsement, Aramis Ayala noted, “Shaq is a longtime advocate whose journey has inspired millions of Americans for decades. I don’t take his decision to get off of the sidelines lightly and am excited that he continues to lend his voice for the people who for too long haven’t had one.”
Ayala, 46, is a civil rights advocate, cancer survivor, as well as Florida’s first Black State Attorney. Because of historic trends and redistricting controlled by Republicans, Democrats are expected to lose seats in the U.S. House next year. Democrats currently hold only a four-seat advantage in the House.
Lauren Victoria Burke is an independent journalist for NNPA and the host of the podcast BURKEFILE. She is also a political strategist as Principal of Win Digital Media LLC. She may be contacted at LBurke007@gmail.com and on twitter at @LVBurke