The strong response in opposition to the July 13 “not-guilty” verdict for racist vigilante, George Zimmerman — who fatally shot unarmed 17-year-old, Trayvon Martin, last year in Sanford, Fla. – prompted a group of mainly Black and Brown youth activists – the Dream Defenders – to occupy the office of Gov. Rick Scott in Florida’s state Capitol in Tallahassee, on July 16.
A week later the occupation is still going strong.
The activists are demanding that the governor call a special legislative session to repeal the “Stand Your Ground” law, which Zimmerman initially used as an “excuse” to kill Martin, whom he claimed look “suspicious.” The Sanford police did not arrest Zimmerman until massive protests forced his arrest six weeks after the atrocity took place.
July 23: Dream Defenders hold press conference at the state capitol.
This state law, in general, says that anyone who feels “threatened” by someone has the right to use deadly force to defend herself or himself. In reality, this law has been used to criminalize mainly people of color, such as Martin and Jordan Davis, another 17-year-old unarmed Black youth shot to death by Michael Dunn, a white man, on Nov. 23, 2012.
What was Davis’ so-called crime? Dunn claimed that Davis and his friends were playing their music too loud next to his car. Dunn goes to trial on murder charges in Jacksonville, Fla., in September.
And then there is the case of Marissa Alexander, a young African-American single mother of three children, who was sentenced to 20 years in prison for firing warning shots against her abusive ex-spouse. The same Florida state attorney, Angela Corey, who led the prosecution team in the Zimmerman case, prosecuted Alexander for standing her ground, which led to her unjust conviction. Alexander had the right to defend herself and her children from a real threat of domestic violence.
It took Gov. Scott two days to meet with the Dream Defenders — where he’d have to listen to their demands and concerns. In the end, Scott reiterated his support for “Stand Your Ground.” He then stated that he would not call a special legislative session. The Defenders’ response was that the sit-in would continue indefinitely. The youth are urging all who can to come and join their sit-in at the state Capitol in Tallahassee this weekend — July 27-28.
We must all support their just struggle!
The Defenders are demanding the passage of a Trayvon Martin Act to outlaw racial profiling, the “Stand Your Ground” law and the school-to-prison pipeline policies.
Defenders’ field director, Curtis Hierro, stated, “Rick Scott has awoken a sleeping giant. We are going to work. Dream Defenders call for people around the nation to converge at Florida’s Capitol to join us as we stand our ground for Trayvon.”
Buses are being organized from around the U.S. to converge in Tallahassee in solidarity with the sit-in.
Help send a Peoples Power Assembly delegation to Tallahassee to stand with the Dream Defenders. We ask for your support in covering travel, food and housing expenses. Donate here … Read more about Peoples Power Assemblies at peoplespowerassemblies.org. (The International Action Center iacenter.org supports this appeal).
See “Take Over Tuesday” website at tinyurl.com/lxowt9t or @Dreamdefenders at Twitter for more information.