Florida Democrats Assist Dream Defenders Camped Out In Capitol To Protest 'Stand Your Ground'

07/22/2013 12:03 pm ET | Updated Jul 22, 2013
  • Nick Wing Senior Viral Editor, The Huffington Post

A group of Florida activists that has been camped out in the state capitol building for nearly a week in opposition to "Stand Your Ground" laws is getting a hand from local legislators, WCTV reported on Monday.

Members of Miami-based social justice group the Dream Defenders entered the capitol in Tallahassee on Tuesday, days after a jury found George Zimmerman not guilty in charges stemming from the 2012 killing of unarmed Florida teenager Trayvon Martin. Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) eventually accepted their request for a meeting on the state's controversial "Stand Your Ground" self-defense measure, but refused to call a special legislative session on the law.

The Dream Defenders have vowed to remain in the capitol until Scott reverses course, which has left them voluntarily locked in the building -- if they leave, they will reportedly not be allowed back in. Organizers said dozens of activists spent the weekend camped out in the complex.

While they haven't had access to the luxuries of air conditioning and showers, WCTV reported that state Rep. Alan Williams (D) was among the lawmakers helping to make sure the demonstrators have the basic supplies they need to keep up their protest.

"You know, whenever they are supporting legislation that many of my colleagues in the Democratic Caucus believe is the right way to go, we are going to try and provide support," Williams said.

Williams has been a key proponent of "Stand Your Ground" reform. Shortly after the Florida jury acquitted Zimmerman, the Tallahassee Democrat said he'd renew his efforts against the law with two separate bills, one to take another look at revising "Stand Your Ground" and another to repeal it all together.

While Scott has so far refused to budge on "Stand Your Ground," the Dream Defenders have announced a week of public events on the state capitol grounds meant to ramp up pressure on the governor.

"In failing to recognize the gravity of the need for change in this moment, Governor Scott is not exercising real leadership," said Phillip Agnew, executive director of Dream Defenders. "So we will remain here, not to retry George Zimmerman, but to express our anger and disappointment at our Governor for what happened under his watch peacefully, and to provide a constructive way forward."

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