Scott’s 61,550-vote victory margin now a target for Capitol protestersby John Kennedy | August 8th, 2013
On their 24th day of a sit-in outside Gov. Rick Scott’s Capitol office, the Dream Defenders seeking repeal of Florida’s “stand your ground” law said Thursday they have no plans to end their protest.
In fact, executive director Phillip Agnew said the organization is adding a new dimension to its effort to get state lawmakers to approve what they dub Trayvon’s Law, in honor slain teenager Trayvon Martin.
“We value love, we value peace, we value unity, and more than anything, we value the power of our vote,” Agnew said, during a news conference in a Capitol hallway lined with portraits of former Florida governors.
Agnew said Dream Defenders is launching a campaign to register 61,550 voters in Florida by next election. The number represents Scott’s margin of victory in 2010 over Democrat Alex Sink.
“We intend to register the people that are forgotten,” Agnew said. “The black, the brown, the indigent, the poor, the LGBT community. We will meet them where they are…and encourage them to vote in the name of their issues, not in the name of any candidate.”
Democratic-allied activists have been looking to carry the controvery stemming from neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman’s acquittal in the shooting death of the teen into next year’s elections as a sign of Republican leadership working to oppress minorities.
Like 2011 changes made to the state’s voting laws by Scott and the GOP-led Legislature, organizations say the self-defense law mostly threatens poor, black and young Floridians.
Agnew said the Dream Defenders’ voter work will parallel that of other organizations. But he emphasized that it should not be seen as a partisan effort. Instead, it’s aimed at raising the political relevancy of such issues as ending racial profiling and what protesters have called the “school-to-prison pipeline.”
“At the end of the day, we’re not blue or red,” Agnew said.