Dream-Defenders

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On April 22, 16-year-old Kiera Wilmot was arrested at her Polk County high school for conducting a science experiment. The teen, who has no criminal history and maintained good grades, suddenly found herself trapped in Florida’s insidious school to prison pipeline; which has continually funneled mostly youth of color out of Florida’s schools and into the criminal justice system.

According to a report by Florida’s Department of Juvenile Justice, over 57% of the state’s 96,515 youth incarcerated in 2012 were Black and Brown. In Kiera’s home of Polk County, Sheriff Grady Judd has presided over a system in which youth have continually been cycled through county jails in which severe abuses have been alleged including the use of pepper spray and the holding of juveniles in cages.

During the 2013 Florida Legislative Session, Dream Defenders worked with allies in the Florida Campaign for Juvenile Justice to reform Florida’s broken juvenile justice system. Despite repeated community visits to the state capital, briefings and press conferences by advocates and sponsoring legislators, the 2013 Legislative session closed with no action on critical bills such as SB 1374/HB 1039 which would have reformed Florida’s Zero Tolerance law at play in this case.

While Kiera navigates the legal ramifications of her unjust case Polk County Superintendent John Stewart has made the decision to place Kiera in an “alternative school” as he considers expulsion proceedings. Dream Defenders find these actions by Superintendent Stewart reprehensible. Dream Defenders demands that Stewart drop all expulsion proceedings against Kiera Wilmot and allow her to return to her enrollment at Bartow High School.

Dream Defenders calls upon all local, state and national allies to TAKE ACTION to ensure Kiera does not become another casualty of the school to prison pipeline.

WHAT YOU CAN DO:

Sample Script:

Superintendent Stewart,

My name is _____________ and I am calling to express my concern about the expulsion proceedings against Kiera Wilmot. Florida has been among the national leaders in furthering a school to prison pipeline; with zero tolerance policies being used to lock up, expel and divert youth from their right to an education. Ms. Wilmot’s case is another example of the state and your office criminalizing and derailing the future of a girl of color. Your handling of her case has been irresponsible and reprehensible. Ms. Wilmot’s actions and intent simply do not warrant expulsion or placement in alternative schooling. I am calling on you to immediately drop all expulsion proceedings against Kiera Wilmot and allow her to return to her regular enrollment at Bartow High School.

In order to make an impact in this case we will need the support of thousands.

Please share this message with family and friends. Let’s ensure there is

#JusticeForKiera

Man Overboard - Love Your Friends, Die Laughing

The Revolution Will Not Be (Russell) Brand-ed

Plus 3 alternative wellsprings of revolutionary potential

by Isabelle Nastasia and Suey Park

Russell Brand “plays Indian” (aka appropriates Native culture) at ex-wife Katy Perry’s birthday party. – Photo via Indian Country Media Network

Over the past couple of weeks, actor and comedian Russell Brand has been praised by several blogs and social media users for his viral video and last week’s New Statesman manifesto calling for revolution. The headlines speak for themselves: “Russell Brand May Have Started a Revolution Last Night” and “Brand is Readying the Revolution.”

As young organizers and radical thinkers, the question on our lips is: why is Brand getting so much attention, while we – the “disenfranchised underclass” – been saying this shit for years?

Natasha Lenard articulately described why she does not stand with Brand and his so-called revolution: his complete lack of attention to dismantling patriarchy and sexism. Many other holes can be pointed to in Brand’s personal commitment to justice for oppressed peoples, from his appropriation of Native culture to his sexual exploitation of women. But the thing that stands out to us as particularly ridiculous is how corporate media is holding Brand up as a would-be revolutionary at a time when young people of color and women, queer kids, working class and poor youth are leading organizations that are building a robust movement across issues, strategies, and identities; a movement that is not looking to celebrities or elites for direction, but is informed from below.

Keep reading

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The Dream Defenders take the fight to the Florida Capitol
July 19, 2013

As Day Two of the occupation of the Florida state Capitol drew to a close on July 17, activists from the Dream Defenders were calling on Gov. Rick Scott to call a special legislative session to examine the criminal justice system, including repeal of the “Stand Your Ground” law that protects racist murderers like George Zimmerman. The demonstration continued for a third day as this article was prepared for publication.

The Dream Defenders, an anti-racism group of Black and Brown youths, was founded last year after the murder of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Fla.

On July 16, at 10 a.m., Dream Defenders chapters and supporters from all over Florida showed up at the Capitol in Tallahassee, with more than 100 people pouring into the lobby. As they headed toward the governor’s office, they chanted, “Whose world is this? The world is ours! Whose state is this? The state is ours!”

Once they were in the governor’s office, the Dream Defenders read their list of demands. The list was read again every hour, on the hour, during the occupation:

The Dream Defenders demand:
— Fully repeal Stand Your Ground;
— Require law enforcement agencies to develop written policies defining and prohibiting racial profiling;
— Mandate law enforcement training on racial profiling;
— Repeal zero-tolerance policies in schools;
— Issue civil citations for first misdemeanor offenses for minors;
— Promote restorative justice programs for youth.

We call on Gov. Scott and the Florida legislature to pass these policies as the state’s Trayvon Martin Act. Together, we are united in ensuring Trayvon’s unjust death was not for nothing. Our anger in the face of gross injustice has led us to take action, but it is the love of our people, our community that pushes us forward. We will remain here, standing OUR ground, for Trayvon, for justice, until our demands are met.

"We are here today to demand justice for the Trayvon Martin case. We are at the Florida state Capitol, in Rick Scott’s office, and we plan on staying the night to get our demands met," said Daniel Agnew from the Dream Defenders Communications Team.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Activists say their occupation will continue until Rick Scott agrees to speak to the Dream Defenders—not simply to hear them read their demands, but actually have a conversation about race and injustice in Florida.

After the murder of Trayvon, the governor commissioned a special session to discuss the Stand Your Ground. That task force—led by former Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll, who was forced to resign after charges of corruption—issued its findings in February, recommending no change to the law. So far, Rick Scott is saying that his answer to the Dream Defenders’ demands is no.

On Tuesday night, about 20 people stayed overnight. The Capitol police closed the doors to the governor’s office, but didn’t prevent activists from staying in the lobby area of the Capitol. On Wednesday, the number rose to 50.

Across the country, people are showing their solidarity with the occupation by sending food, water, and other necessities. #takeovertuesday and #westillinherewednesday are being used on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and other social media outlets to turn numbers out and spread the word.

According to Regina Joseph, vice president of the Florida State University Dream Defenders:

I am here because Trayvon Martin reminds me of my brother. Trayvon Martin was a child, and yet a jury of six women did not see him as a person. We need to combat this.

A lot of people are just apathetic because this country has been built on 500 years of white supremacy and the exploitation of people, and they think that because of that history, it will always be like that. But it shouldn’t be. The youth and the community members around us have an obligation to make sure that in the future of America, there will never be another moment where we have to come together like this.

Taking a quote from civil rights leader Ella Baker, protesters sang, “Until the killing of Black men, Black mothers’ sons, is as important as the killing of white men, white mothers’ sons. We who believe in freedom cannot rest until it;s won.

Visit the Dream Defenders website for updates and information on how to help build solidarity.

As Jamaal Hill, a senior at the University of Florida said, “We need to get together and stay together.”

Source

No justice. No peace.

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…the Dream Defenders…streamed into the governor’s suite to hold a sit-in. Encamped there since then, they are demanding changes to Florida’s self-defense laws, specifically the Stand Your Ground provision, and to the way minorities are treated in the state’s schools and on the streets. They have vowed to stay until a special legislative session is called on their issues.

more.

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JORDAN DAVIS. TRAYVON MARTIN. RENISHA MCBRIDE. ISRAEL HERNANDEZ. JONATHAN FERRELL. JESUS HUERTA. KENDRICK JOHNSON.


These are the names of our babies. Black and brown youth who grew up in American cities - Miami, Charlotte, Jacksonville, Valdosta, Detroit. 


But these aren’t just any cities. They are cities of the American 21st century - MAD cities, cities where black and brown youth are shot down in streets, in schools, or in the back of police cars.

In MAD cities, children are removed from school and put behind bars for throwing pencils, wielding tootsie rolls, and quarreling with classmates. Prisons profit off youth bodies in private jail cells, corporations profit off standardized testing in public schools, 
 

In Florida, Jordan Davis was shot for playing loud music. In Georgia, Kendrick Johnson walked into school with a book bag and came out in a body bag.

Madness has swept silently across American cities while generations sleep senseless through the injustice. But it’s time to end the nightmare and WAKE UP. How do we end the madness? 

  You can start in YOUR community.  The truth is that you HAVE to start in your community.  It starts with your family, your friends, the people that you go to school or church with, the people at your barber shop or hair salon.     This time we won’t organize our energy into another march or rally.  This time we know that our long term goal is building power and bringing our communities together - so we start with important conversations.   We start our push forward now.  Together.  We are providing the tools so that you can start having the right conversations with the people around you.

Would you like to host a townhall or a house meeting somewhere in your  town, city, or area? Dream Defenders would like to supply you with the Good Kids Mad Cities Toolkit, including:

 

1) A Townhall Host facilitation guide and agenda

2) A Good Kids Mad Cities Powerpoint presentation

3) Promotional townhall flyers

4) One pagers and information on how laws like Stand Your Ground, systems like the school to prison pipeline, and the criminalization of youth of color contribute to Mad Cities across the country.

http://dreamdefenders.org/goodkidsmadcities/

We’ve lost another one of our brothers to racial profiling and senseless police violence. As these tragedies continue to occur, we see that the problems are connected and all of us that care need to be a part of the solution.

Jonathan Ferrell, a former football player at Florida A&M University was murdered by North Carolina police after he was in a car accident and attempted to get help.

Let us take today to remember these #jonferrell.

Via Dream Defenders

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eyefuckingstiel:

Favorite J.W. scenes:  [6/?] As Time Goes By

↳ “That man got a bum rap around every turn. But you know what? He kept going. And in the end, he did a hell of a lot more good than he did bad.

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A Tableau of Our Generation

Aggregated by Young People For (YP4) and {Young}ist

Young people from across the United States are showing solidarity with the Dream Defenders' #TakeOverFL occupation of Governor Rick Scott's office. This photo series is a tableau of - not a “post-racial” generation - but a generation determined to highlight and combat racial oppression.

Follow the photo campaign on Facebook here. Email your own photos to CQuinn@Pfaw.org if you’d like to participate!

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