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‘Dream Defenders’ kick off 2013 session with protest

by Dara Kam | March 5th, 2013

A coalition of students carrying signs and chanting “The state is ours” protested Tuesday morning laying out their agenda and creating a disruption in the historically celebratory advent of the 60-day legislative session highlighted by Gov. Rick Scott’s State of the State speech.

The “Dream Defenders,” made up of students from several Florida universities and backed by the SEIU, the ACLU and the Southern Poverty Law Center, are demanding that lawmakers repeal or reform of the state’s “Stand Your Ground” law and the elimination of “zero tolerance” policies in public schools.

The group chanted and sang on the fourth floor rotunda as the opening day ceremonies began in advance of Scott’s joint address.

The group organized in response to the shooting of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black 17-year-old, by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman, last year. Zimmerman said he shot Martin in self-defense, but a judge has not yet decided if the law allowing people to use deadly force when they feel threatened applies in Zimmerman’s case. The law allows provides immunity from prosecution or arrest.

“Even today the life of a black boy or brown boy in this state is worth less than the bullet lodged in his chest,” Dream Defenders executive director Phillip Agnew, a Florida A&M University graduate who lives in Miami, said at a press conference surrounded by dozens of supporters wearing black T-shirts imprinted with “Can We Dream Together?” in white.

Gov. Rick Scott, House Speaker Will Weatherford, Senate President Don Gaetz, all Republicans, have said they support the Stand Your Ground law, but Democratic lawmakers have filed a slew of bills that would amend or repeal it.

But Agnew said he thinks the national attitude towards guns has changed in the wake of the Newtown, Conn., elementary school shootings.

“We want a repeal. We’ll settle for a reform. The confines of that law are loose. If you create any bit of fear in me, I’m sorry ma’am, I can take you out,” Agnew said. “I don’t believe anybody any person in here believes that was the law was supposed to be and certainly not lack and brown people.”

The group will maintain a presence in the Capitol throughout the session, Agnew said.

“This is just a starting point for us. We’ll be here throughout the session…to ensure that some of these things pass.”

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11 Responses to “‘Dream Defenders’ kick off 2013 session with protest”

  1. Repubtallygirl Says:

    Yes, acting like spoiled brats kicking and screaming accomplishes SO MUCH! Union thugs at work.

  2. Patrick Says:

    Well done, Dream Defenders. This article has quite a few grammatical errors, please correct them as they are quite distracting. Repubtallygirl is a damn fool.

  3. Repubtallygirl Says:

    @Patrick – Yelling at members and the Governor is NOT the way to accomplish legislative changes in our State. They would never be allowed to do what the union thugs did in Wisconsin.

    I found it amusing to watch them yell at the Governor and he just smiled and waved at them.

  4. T. J. Ewing Says:

    The GOP/Teabagger problem with anyone not rich, white, christianist and heterosexual is going to come back and bite them on the azz. Oh, it already did in the last election. Can’t wait for 2014 when we will get to see the crook n chief governor’s back as he gets swept out office. Some people only understand the American right to protest if they agree with what is being protested. Just more of the usual from the knuckle dragging neanderthals who obviously need a lesson in democracy 101!

  5. Repubtallygirl Says:

    @T.J.Ewing: What a thoughtful, well stated rebuttal to an argument. You obviously were educated in a public school.

  6. T. J. Ewing Says:

    @Repubtallygirl; I WAS educated in a public school and I am proud of it. That was before you knuckle dragging neanderthals decided to privitize public school education in order to turn it over to big business. So what’s your excuse?

  7. Repubtallygirl Says:

    I know that screaming and yelling at Members is NOT the way to get legislation passed.
    I knew I was right.

  8. T. J. Ewing Says:

    Niether is inferring that people with a public school education must be stupid because they don’t agree with your right-wing drivel. I also know that dunbing down the public by deverting funds from public education is all part of the GOP plan to keep people in America as stupid as possible. How else to get people to vote against their best interests by voting GOP? Protest is part of democracy so go back to school and learn some history as in democracy 101. You are all fascists at heart!

  9. Robert Briere Says:

    @tallygirl; Your refering to union members as “thugs” is so typical of the GOP which obviously hates unions because they might have to pay employee’s an actual living wage. The only way that the standard of living in the U.S. has been raised is because of unions. While union membership is in decline, so is the standard of living in the U.S. But than that is the way the GOP wants it, right? It’s all about making the U.S. a country of the rich, by the rich and for the rich isn’t it? Your party does plenty of screaming and yelling of its own. As in always defending the tax breaks for the rich and big business while ignoring the needs of everyone else because you’ve got yours and to hell with others! You and your ilk need a lesson in empathy. Besides, if your are a woman you must suffer from femalephobia since, in case you haven’t noticed, the GOP has an on going war on women, as to equal pay for equal work, reproductive choice and a whole host of other female issues. Don’t bother to give me this “you must be educated in a public school B.S. because I was educated in Catholic schools and at a Catholic college but I am sure that you would have something stupid to say about that as well. People have a right to protest whether you like it or not!

  10. billy bob Says:

    thats right i will be back to be union thugs come out so i can yell at you too be such union thug

  11. GOP=War on Women! Says:

    Just in case the censor decides to remove the above comment because they “don’t like it” for what ever reason, I change it to the following:- @billy bob- Just what is it that you appear to be saying? In english, please!

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