‘Dream Defenders’ in Florida: ‘The time to talk has passed’

theGRIO REPORT - Over 100 young adults rallied outside of the Florida state capitol urging Gov. Rick Scott to address their concerns about the Zimmerman verdict and demands for changes in legislation...

Luther Vandross was outed as gay after his death.

Youth in Florida are speaking up and taking action.

Over 100 teenagers and young adults are rallying outside of the Florida state capitol urging Gov. Rick Scott to address their concerns about the George Zimmerman verdict and demands for changes in “Stand Your Ground” legislation.

Now, on their seventh day of protests, the group, being led by the Dream Defenders – an organization that confronts issues of inequality among minorities, is calling on the Department of Juvenile Justice Secretary Wansley Walters to discuss the issues of mass incarceration of Florida’s youth.

They are also asking for her support in their mission to ask the governor to hold a special legislative session.

“While we appreciate Secretary Walters taking the time to meet with us, we believe the time for talk has passed. We currently find ourselves in a state of emergency,” said Ciara Taylor, the Dream Defenders’ political director. “There is a growing fear among Black and Brown young people in Florida that their lives are of little value to the state, and the Governor’s unwillingness to do anything about it is disappointing to us all.”

Florida reports more school-based arrests than any other state in the nation, according to the Sun Sentinel.

The report shows that most of the arrests made are based on non-criminal acts, but also states that a review of arrest records and interviews show that disabled students and black children are arrested disproportionately.

Some young people camped outside of the state capitol for several days following the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the death of Trayvon Martin.

They did so in protest of the verdict and in an effort to announce their concerns about Florida’s handling of minorities.

Taylor said, “We urge both Governor Scott and Secretary Wansley to take our calls for justice for Florida’s youth seriously and to correct the circumstances that led to the killing of Trayvon Martin last year: racial profiling, stand your ground vigilantism, and the school-to-prison pipeline.”

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