Dream Defenders occupy Florida

It’s been 10 days since the Dream Defenders, and scores of students and activists, have been occupying Florida’s state house. The group says they plan on staying put outside of Governor Rick Scott’s office until he convenes a special legislative session to enact the Trayvon Martin Act, which would repeal Florida’s stand your ground law, outlaw racial profiling, and put an end to the school to prison pipeline.

After days in the state capital, the Governor met with the group, heard their demands, but refused to call a special session to examine the controversial law. Moreover, Gov. Scott affirmed his support for the stand your ground law and he has no intention of reviewing it.

While the Dream Defenders were disappointed with the Governor’s refusal to call a special legislative session, they are not giving up their fight.

“That’s very disappointing on our part,” Dream Defenders legal and policy director Ahmad Abuznaid told ThinkProgress. “We are attempting to get Governor Rick Scott and the state leadership here to be real leaders and so far they have not stepped up to the plate. So far, we have decided to hold our own legislative session to show them how it’s done.”

The Dream Defenders will hold their own mock legislative session to bring more attention to the issues at hand, and they’ve also vowed to stand their ground in the capital until the Governor caves to their suggestions.

“When the governor finally yields to our demands and assembles a special session of the legislature, we want our representatives’ jobs to be as easy as possible,” Ciara Taylor, the Dream Defenders’ political director, said in the announcement. “We will do the hard work of collecting evidence and analyzing expert testimony for them.”

Although the Dream Defenders are requesting the support of others, they said they have everything the need to continue to occupy the capital until they get what they want.

“We have everything we need,” Dream Defenders director Phillip Agnew said. “It’s not like we’re comfortable, but it’s not supposed to be comfortable. We could stay here easily for the next few weeks.”

Co-founder Gabriel Pendas echoed his sentiments, “We stay until we win.”

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