Boycott Florida? How About We Support #TakeOverFlorida?
I think that if there was ever a reason to not boycott Florida, it would be to support the valiant efforts of the Dream Defenders.
Now in their 14th day of occupying Gov. Rick Scott’s office in the Florida Capitol Building (that includes sleepovers), the human rights group of about 50 mostly college students and young professionals (founded in the wake of the Trayvon Martin murder as well as other injustices around the state of Florida) plan on convening today a People’s Session to, and I quote, “examine the circumstances they say led to the death of Miami Gardens teen Trayvon Martin and impunity for his killer: zero-tolerance school discipline policies, stand your ground vigilantism, and racial profiling.”
On the group’s campaign website, the Dream Defenders announced that this special People’s Session has been called in response to Gov. Scott’s refusal of their demands to convene a special session of the state assembly to pass Trayvon’s Law, which seeks to repeal Stand Your Ground law; ban racial profiling and end the school-to-prison pipeline. After meeting with the group of protestors, Gov. Scott stated that he sees no reason to repeal the state’s Stand Your Ground, which many believed gave wanna-be neighborhood town watcher the legal provocation to profile and then kill 17-year old Martin as he returned home from a junk food run at the store. Despite the governor being unmoved, the protestors say that they will remain in the Capitol until their demands are met.
The Dream Defenders took command of the governor’s office only three days after the jury in the George Zimmerman trial reached its not-guilty verdict. While most of the occupation has been incident-free, there have been reports that the situation might have gotten a bit uncomfortable over the weekend when Capitol Police temporarily stopped letting donated food, which was to go to the occupiers, from coming into the building. According to one published report, the occupiers were left with only snack items and a couple of cups of water. Despite the dire reports, on the group’s Facebook page, a message was left to reassure their supporters that, “We remain committed to the reason that we are here and despite any struggle, we will remain steadfast. We will win.”
Although the Florida Department of Law Enforcement has gone on records, calling those reports “inaccurate,” on Monday, the Dream Defenders left another message, confirming that its food situation, while “light” over the weekend, was “okay,” and that, “We’re looking forward to breakfast! Doors open to the Capitol at 7 a.m. tomorrow and again we are welcoming folks from around the state to join us.”
Over the next several weeks, the People’s Hearing will bring forth activists (including the Rev. Jesse Jackson), experts and witness testimony, who will speak to the effects and affects of SYG as well as the other noted issues. Since the protest began, the ranks of the Dream Defenders has been growing, even receiving support from Jamie Foxx, Chuck D. and other long time activists like Harry Belafonte, who showed up, in person, to tell the youth that, “I’ve come down to be at the disposal of young people. Not only to tell the history from whence we’ve come; but to talk for a host of artists who are very high profile, a number of leaders who are very high profile, who are waiting to hear, ‘How do we look at a strategy in the immediate future?’”
In addition to request for supporters, particularly those around the state of Florida, to join them in protest at the State Capitol, the Dream Defenders are also asking supporters to call-in to Gov. Scott (as well as other Florida representatives) and demand that he pass Trayvon’s Law. You can also follow the latest sit-in happenings under the hashtag of #TakeOverFL. Also, the occupiers are in regular need of protest essentials such as mobile hot spots, calling cards, film equipment and SD cards, toiletries and other bare necessities. You can learn how to donate those supplies as well as any cash donations by visiting their website here. No pressure but if you were looking for a way to make those dollars you’ve saved from boycotting Florida mean something, the efforts of the Dream Defenders definitely sounds like a worthy way to make a statement.