A group of student revolutionaries known as the Dream Defenders has occupied Florida’s Capitol building for the sixteenth day, refusing to leave until Gov. Rick Scott reevaluates the state’s ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws, reports USA Today.
Forming immediately after George Zimmerman was found ‘not guilty’ of murdering Trayvon Martin on July 13, 2013, the group’s numbers have ebbed and flowed, but their presence has remained constant.
And they are not leaving.
Read more from USA Today:
On July 18, the Dream Defenders met with [Gov. Scott] and demanded that he convene a special committee to re-evaluate the “stand your ground” law.
He told them “no.”
The Dream Defenders have since drawn national attention to their cause and plan to camp out inside the Capitol until their demands are met.
“It is our attempt to try and receive justice from our justice system,” says Lashanett Lorraine, a Dream Defender from Florida A&M University.
Even though the number of protesters ebbs and flows — from 30 to 70 people — they maintain a constant presence.
“There’s new people showing up every day … folks coming in from all over the state,” says Dream Defender Michael Sampson, a student at Florida State University. “And we still have a steady flow of rock-hard, solid people who are not going to stop.”
“Last Friday, we had a rally with around 400 people, and Harry Belafonte came to speak,” he says.
Tuesday, they gained the support of the Rev. Jesse Jackson, who showed up to a mock session of the Florida Legislature hosted by the Dream Defenders.
Dubbed the “People’s Session,” they discussed the idea of “Trayvon’s Law,” a proposal to address three key issues and their goals for ending the occupation: ethics training to reduce racial profiling by law enforcement, repealing the “stand your ground” law and repealing zero-tolerance in schools — which they claim fuels a “school to prison” pipeline by expelling students for minor infractions.
See the Dream Defenders in action below:
Read more about the Dream Defenders here.
As previously reported by NewsOne, Scott on Wednesday demanded an apology from Jackson for comparing the state’s combustibility over the Trayvon Martin case to the civil rights clashes with police during the 1960s in Selma, Ala.
“Jesse Jackson owes every Floridian an apology for his reckless and divisive comments,” the Republican governor said in a statement. “It is unfortunate that he would come to Florida to insult Floridians and divide our state at a time when we are striving for unity and healing.”
In an interview with the Associated Press, Jackson refused to walk back his statements, maintaining his position that Florida is an “apartheid state” that should be boycotted.
Read more on Jackson’s stand-off with Scott here.
While conservative websites are claiming that Black suspects benefit from ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws, they are attempting to manipulate broad data to their political advantage. In fact, nearly four-in-five killings of Black people where ‘Stand Your Ground’ has been invoked resulted in the killer being freed.
To learn more and support the Dream Defenders click here.
Florida’s ‘Dream Defenders’ Still Going Strong [VIDEO] was originally published on newsone.com
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