As I speak with you there are a group of mostly young people who have been peacefully protesting in the Florida State Capital since Tuesday July 16th. They are demanding that Florida Governor Rick Scott “CONVENE A SPECIAL SESSION OF THE LEGISLATURE TO ENACT “TRAYVON’S LAW”: TO REPEAL STAND YOUR GROUND, CONFRONT RACIAL PROFILING, AND END THE SCHOOL-TO-PRISON PIPELINE.”
This group of young people known as the Dream Defenders, mostly college students from the state of Florida committed to marching from Daytona to Sanford (40 miles) to bring attention to a free and uncharged George Zimmerman last April. And now they have been in the State Capitol for 14 Days 3 Hours and 19 Minutes and 20 Seconds.
I marched with those students and was so proud to see a group of young people deciding for themselves what their issue, strategy and mobilization style would be with the assistance of advisors, but not being controlled by some organization trying to tell them what their movement should be. And the Dream Defenders never stopped from there. Phillip Agnew, the group’s Executive Director, and others continued to work in Sanford and around the state training young people and citizens to organize. They additionally became a visible part of a growing youth movement not looking for traditional organizations or leaders to tell them what they can and cannot do. They are operating in the legacy of so many young people who came before them in the face of a national discussion that says young people don’t have the chops for civil rights and social justice the way the previous generation did. They have now been in the capitol for 14 Days 3 Hours and 20 Minutes and 35 Seconds, but family they have now been consistently organizing on this ONE issue since April of last year.