FAU group now part of Capitol protestby John Kennedy | July 19th, 2013
Dozens of activists, including a newly arrived entourage from Florida Atlantic University, prepared Friday to spend the weekend locked in the state Capitol, as the demonstration against the stand your ground law continued.
Capitol Police locked the doors of the 22-story building at 5 p.m. Friday, not long after volunteers carted trays of sandwiches, chips, soft drinks and water into the main lobby for the protesters long weekend.
“We may not that much of a difference right now, but we’ll see,” said Alexandra Caruso, 26, of Coral Springs, a graduate student at FAU. “Sometimes the kind of changes we’re looking to make take more than our lifetime. But it will come.”
Caruso said she was among seven FAU students who made the trip Friday to Tallahassee to participate in the demonstration in its fourth day. Activists led by an organization called the Dream Defenders have crowded Gov. Rick Scott’s office and adjacent first-floor hallway at the Capitol since Tuesday.
Like most of this week, Scott was away from the Capitol again Friday, making appearances at events elsewhere in the state.
Scott met with leaders of the protest for 45-minutes late Thursday but rejected their call for a special session to repeal the self-defense law that opponents say contributed to George Zimmerman’s acquittal in the shooting death of teenager Trayvon Martin last year in Sanford.
The crowd gathering as the Capitol closed for the weekend topped 100 people, including representatives of area churches, the Florida National Organization for Women, and low-income advocates.
Dale Landry, head of the Tallahassee chapter of the NAACP, also encouraged the protesters, saying they were only blocks from where civil rights demonstrators engaged in a lunchroom sit-in and bus boycott more than 50 years ago.
“You are fulfilling a mission,” Landry said.