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A Florida DNC official came under fire for using the term ‘colored people.’ Then he resigned.

"I misspoke and used language that was hurtful. I apologized and pledged that I would learn from my mistake," DNC Committeeman John Parker wrote in a Wednesday letter.
Florida's Old and New Capitol can be seen looking west along Apalachee Parkway in Tallahassee. [SCOTT KEELER | Tampa Bay Times]
Florida's Old and New Capitol can be seen looking west along Apalachee Parkway in Tallahassee. [SCOTT KEELER | Tampa Bay Times]
Published Apr. 5, 2018
Updated Apr. 5, 2018

John Parker, a member of the Florida Democratic National Committee reportedly referred to black people as "colored people" at a Jan. 22 party event. He's not a DNC committeeman anymore.

After months of calls from liberal activists for his resignation, Parker announced Wednesday that he would leave his post.

Parker told Politico — which first reported the comments — that he meant to use the phrase "people of color," but he mixed up his words and instead said, "colored people."

But at least one person disputed that account. Diallo-Sekou Seabrooks, who heard Parker's remarks at Jacksonville's Burrito Gallery restaurant in January, said Parker used the term "freely," Politico reported.

The comments festered in the activist ranks of the state Democratic party for months. On Feb. 8, James Deininger, a prominent Duval County Democrat, wrote Florida Democratic Party Chairwoman Terrie Rizzo to express concern over the party's inaction.

"Protecting leaders in our Party who are perceived to make racist remarks is nothing more than defending and preserving institutional racism," Deininger wrote, according to Politico

This week, the calls for Parker's removal became so loud that Parker's own wife — Lisa King, the chairwoman of the Duval County Democratic Executive Committee — called for his resignation.

The fray even rose to the level of the Democratic race for governor. Former Congresswoman Gwen Graham, who won Parker's endorsement, said Parker should resign Wednesday.

Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, the only black Democrat running for governor, echoed that call.

"John Parker should resign for the good of Duval County Democrats," Gillum said in a Wednesday statement.

In his resignation letter, Parker said although he believes his heart is in the right place, the calls for his resignation became too loud to ignore.

"I am confident that a full investigation would have shown that I erred with my mouth, not my heart," Parker wrote. "I am not what some are portraying me to be, and although I would have preferred the opportunity for due process, I have decided it is best to put our party and overarching goals ahead of this."

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