TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- The Florida Capitol is the quietest it's been in a month now that the Dream Defenders have ended their sit-in outside Gov. Rick Scott's office.
On Friday, it was exactly one month since the protesters started gathering at the Capitol because they were upset with the verdict in the George Zimmerman trial.
They stayed there around the clock for 31 days.
It was the longest protest vigil ever held in the Capitol and they called for changes in Florida's Stand Your Ground law, racial profiling and school policies.
They did not get the special legislative session that they wanted. But their commitment and energy got the attention of Gov. Rick Scott and lawmakers.
Now the group's issues are getting a closer look.
Rep. Alan Williams, D-Tallahassee, says he admires how the group fought for its ideas.
"Although their protest here at the Capitol may have ended, I think that they now have the wind at their backs to really take off on a movement that we haven't seen really maybe the 60s with the student, nonviolent committee where those students came together, many of them now serving in Congress and doing other great things around the country, but it was all started with an idea."
The Dream Defenders' vigil prompted House Speaker Will Weatherford to schedule a hearing on the Stand Your Ground law this fall. The group also got commitments from state agency leaders to study racial profiling by police and juvenile justice policies.
Williams hopes his children are committed enough to take a stand someday on the issues they care about, and be willing to sleep on the floor of the Capitol, to send the message that government can do better.
He says look for some of the Dream Defenders to serve as elected leaders in the future.
"All of them will be able to trace their roots back to the days that they spent on the floor here in the state Capitol and the difference that they made, not for themselves, but for future generations of Floridians."
The Dream Defenders are gone from the Capitol now, but they are vowing to return on September 23 - the start of the legislative committee schedule.
First Coast News