On Thursday afternoon, Orange-Osceola County State Attorney Aramis Ayala was one of the featured guests at the Tiger Bay of Central Florida Meeting, and for the first time since her history making victory last year, she confronted several controversial issues in front of the most influential audience in the region.
One of the first questions asked during the program was the money donated by Progressive Bilionaire George Soros during Ayala’s campaign last year. Like many of the other campaigns which involved donations from Soros, there were many question on why he would take interest in a State Attorney race in Central Florida.
“Apparently there are organizations who seek out different candidates across the country, who are committed to reform, change, and who acknowledge the systemic racism in the issues of our criminal justice system.” she began acknowledging she found out about the donations on social media and that it didn’t subtract from her work on the campaign “I began to do the research and said ‘hey I appreciate it’ I will tell you I have no regrets about accepting the funding because I’m not a puppet for anyone.”
The next question had to do with the Black Lives Matter, which grew into a nationwide movement after a series of high profile altercations between police and Black members of the community. Ayala, the first African-American State Attorney in Florida’s history said she’s had the experience of a Black Woman.
“There is an experience that can’t be eliminated, I can’t unlearn, I can’t unexperience, I can’t un-know. This is who I am.” she said “There is a sensitivity that diversity brings to this community that a black person with a black experience brings. I am proud of what I bring to the table. And whether other people are in the same groups as I am or not, they should be proud because it broadens our knowledge.”
One issues that doesn’t directly involved the State Attorney’s office but has the potential to effect bringing suspects to justice are recent Immigration reforms being considered by the White House, some that could deter undocumented victims of domestic violence from coming forward to put their attack behind bars. Congresswoman Val Demings who a day earlier circulated a letter calling for Immigration Agents to allow victims to come forward, was in attendance (story HERE).
“I need witnesses for trials.” she began “We cannot administer justice without witnesses. If there is a witness who is not here legally and we need to prosecute, I am committed to seeing what we can do to preserve that person for a period of time while we prosecute.”
Longtime Public Defender Bob Wesley shared the stage with Ayala for the program and the two commended each other on their commitment to working together early on during their respective terms.