Young people from across Florida have flooded the Governor’s office in Tallahassee, demanding that Gov. Rick Scott hear their concerns in the aftermath of the George Zimmerman verdict.
Dubbed the Dream Defenders, they’ve been there since Tuesday, rallying around the Trayvon Martin act, a bill that would address racial profiling, “Stand Your Ground” laws, and the school-to-prison pipeline.
According to Dream Defender Ciara Taylor, the number of students occupying the building have “doubled” since they started Tuesday. Annie Thomas, of the Miami-based Power U Center for Social Change, said students there are “living in a state of fear” due to schools’ “zero tolerance” policies that lead to students of color getting excessively suspended and expelled. Trayvon Martin lived and went to school in Miami Gardens and was in Sanford the day he was murdered because he was serving a ten-day suspension from school.
The Defenders’ occupy action has earned the support of civil rights groups like the NAACP, which is holding its national convention not far away in Orlando. The NAACP’s state chapter excused one of its directors, Dale Landry, so he could travel to Tallahassee and support the Defenders. Landry delivered a letter from the Florida NAACP president that told Gov. Scott to listen to the concerns of the organized youth.
Incredible. Young people are FED UP with policies that impede their life chances, and put them in literal danger.
We stand with the Dream Defenders!
The BYP100 – 100 young black activists brought together by the Black Youth Project – have also spoken out on the Trayvon Martin tragedy.