Members of Dream Defenders sit-in at Rick Scott’s office. (AP Photo)
From Student Nation at The Nation, July 23, 2013
E-mail questions, tips or proposals to firstname.lastname@example.org. For earlier dispatches, check out posts from January 18, February 1, February 15, March 1, March 15, April 2, April 15, April 26, May 10, May 24, June 7, June 21 and July 9.
1. Dream Defenders Occupy the Florida Capitol
On Saturday, July 13, George Zimmerman was found not guilty. This was the moment Florida showed the world that it does not care about its youth, especially young black and brown people. If neighborhood watch vigilantes are given the license to kill, what instructions are given to black and brown youth such as me? How do I stand my ground when I feel threatened? Am I not allowed to defend myself? Dream Defenders have been joined by community members and students from Jacksonville, Gainesville, Orlando, Miami, FAMU, FSU, UF, FAU and UCF, as well as the Advancement Project, Power U and USSA. We are occupying the state capitol until Governor Rick Scott meets our demand to convene a special session of the legislature. During this session, we want a new Trayvon Martin Civil Rights Act to be passed. It will focus on the Stand Your Ground law, racial profiling and the war on youth. This is deeper than just the Zimmerman murder case. This is a movement to unravel the system that allowed Trayvon to be criminalized, profiled and killed in the first place. We will stay in the capitol until the governor meets our demands. We have gotten support from across the country and around the world. This is what the student movement looks like.
2. Black Youth Strategize in Chicago
Black Youth Project 100 is a group of 100 young black activists from across the country convened by the Black Youth Project to mobilize communities of color beyond electoral politics. As we convened for our first Beyond November Movement gathering, we collectively mourned over the Zimmerman trial verdict and produced this video response to affirm the humanity of black life. We are committed to connecting the tragic loss of Travyon Martin and this recent miscarriage of justice in Florida to countless other examples of American systemic racism and injustice. Moving forward, we will be mobilizing a black youth contingency to attend the commemoration of the fiftieth anniversary of the March on Washington and offering civic engagement training to young people. We are organizing local chapters to build political power nationwide while simultaneously supporting the efforts of other youth-led organizations such as Dream Defenders. As stated in our video, we see the hopelessness of a generation that has been broken trying to find its place in this world, and we understand that we need to turn anger into action and pain into power.