The Dream Defenders are sticking to their goal of making sure their voices are heard by protesting inside Florida’s Capitol in Tallahassee Tuesday morning, the first day of Florida’s 2014 legislative session.
The group, an organization of young people fighting systemic injustice toward communities of color, stepped into the spotlight after the shooting death of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman. It has been especially vocal about “Stand your ground,” as well as police brutality in Florida. Over the last two years, the Dream Defenders have held countless protests and sit-ins at the Capitol, and now the group is taking an even bigger stand.
Today’s protest will not only feature the father of Israel Hernandez, an 18-year-old boy who was “tasered” to death by Miami police in 2013, but also youths from universities and high schools around Florida. By using the hashtag #GoodKidsMadCities, the Dream Defenders hope that their stance will resonate on social media and will encourage others to participate.
“This year we refuse to sit back and allow our youth to be pushed from schools into prisons, or shot down in the streets,” said Sherika Shaw, one of the Dream Defenders’ field organizers. “The color of our skin will not deny our youth the opportunity to thrive in this state. If our communities come together, we can build the power to create change.”
The Dream Defenders are urging Florida residents to tweet them using the #goodkidsmadcities and #visitfl hashtags to highlight their own version of Florida’s State of the State address video, which Gov. Rick Scott will be making later this afternoon.
Yesha Callahan is a full-time writer and single mother living in Columbia, Md. She has written for BlogHer, Jezebel and The Grio and has been seen on HuffPost Live and TV One’s NewsOne Now With Roland Martin. She is currently the managing editor of Clutch magazine and is a former comedy and politics writer for BET’s Don’t Sleep! Hosted by T.J. Holmes.