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Dream Defenders on Day 2 of sit-in at the Florida Capitol

2:11 PM, Jul 17, 2013   |    comments
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Protesters chant outside Gov. Rick Scott's office during the second day of their sit-in at the state Capitol in honor of Trayvon Martin.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Protesters continued their sit-in for the second day at the state Capitol in an effort to meet with Gov. Rick Scott about the Trayvon Martin case.

About 20 protesters crowded into the foyer outside the governor's office, sang songs and prayed after spending the night inside the Capitol.

They are vowing to remain here until Gov. Scott returns to Tallahassee and meets with them. The governor was in Pensacola and Panama City on Wednesday.

Members of the group Dream Defenders organized the sit-in as a result of the not guilty verdict in the trial of George Zimmerman.

They want Scott to call a special legislative session focusing on civil rights in Florida.

"This occupation will continue until the governor delivers the word that he's called a special session of the Legislature. He has the ability and the power to do it. I believe he has the momentum behind him to do it. He'll have the support of a roomful of young people and young people around the country if he did it," said Phillip Agnew of the Dream Defenders.

Agnew said protesters are excited about the response they're getting from the sit-in. But while they feel momentum for their effort, they have no idea if Gov. Scott will ever meet with them.

"They haven't given us any word whether he'll come over here. It's not in his plan but it wasn't in Trayvon's plan to get murdered before he went home so we've got to always stay flexible and we hope he's able to make the hop, skip and the jump back to Tallahassee."

Some high school students from Miami traveled to Tallahassee to support the sit-in. They're with a group called Power U Center that works to keep minorities in school.

Annie Thomas spoke for the group, saying they oppose school zero-tolerance policies. She accused the Miami-Dade school district, which suspended Trayvon Martin before he was killed, of suspending too many black students.

"We're sick of this zero-tolerance policy constantly targeting our black and colored youth where we are three to four times more likely to be suspended or arrested than our counterparts and we're constantly pushed in and out of school systems. We're constantly incarcerated and criminalized by police and members of our community. So Power U is here to take a stand alongside Dream Defenders, saying we will not take it anymore."

Keno Walker, a senior at Miami Beach High School, said the group is fighting for racial justice.

"It's not a black thing nor a white thing. It's a race thing. It's happened to many minorities all over the world and it's just crazy to see that it's happening through the generations and we still haven't done anything about it. It upsets everybody to see it."

Members of the Dream Defenders want Gov. Scott to call a special session so lawmakers can consider a "Trayvon Martin Civil Rights Act" for Florida.

Dave Heller

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