MIAMI, Fla. — State and local leaders sent a scathing rebuke of Florida's new African American history standards Thursday during a town hall meeting in Miami. Absent from that meeting at the last minute was invited and confirmed guest, Florida Education Commissioner Manny Diaz Jr., who announced before the town hall he wasn’t going to attend.

At the meeting, there were some harsh words for Diaz's decision to not show up and hear the concerns of the people. But the louder message was about the state's new African American history curriculum, which many at Thursday's meeting said are inaccurate, racist and diminishing. 

For Hasina Roach Marks and her son, standing up for Black history is a staple in their home. 

"It's very important," she said. "I can't say how important it is."

Marks said hearing about things like books being banned and the new Black history curriculum in schools is unacceptable. 

"To be honest, I teach my son at home," Marks said. "He's goes to a private school, but I teach him at home. He's a part of Broward Public Schools, but it's important for parents to teach their Black children at home because we already know how misconstrued education is anyway."

It’s why she showed up to the education town hall in Miami Thursday that had been organized by Sen. Shevrin Jones.

"I think it was just important that people hear from our education commissioner," Jones said. "Unfortunately, that's not what's going to happen today, but there are other leaders who are going to be here who are able to take those concerns back to Tallahassee when we prepare to go to session."

Jones said one of the most quoted portions in the new curriculum that says African Americans benefited from the skills they learned while enslaved is just wrong.

"African Americans did not benefit from slavery," he said. "As a matter of fact, there was no benefit to women being raped. There was no benefit to people being lynched."

Marks said she plans to echo that same message at home and anywhere she can until these changes to the curriculum are reversed. 

"The funny thing is about karma it's gonna turn around anyway," she said. "When you push this way and all this attention is here, now something has to happen."