Dream Defenders Launching Statewide Voter Registration Drive in Florida

The group plans to register 61,550 voters by 2014.

Posted: 08/09/2013 10:28 AM EDT

The Dream Defenders, a group of young activists who have been protesting the Stand Your Ground law in Florida for the past month, have announced a massive drive to register 61,550 voters by 2014.

That number is the amount of votes Florida Gov. Rick Scott won by in the 2010 election. The organization plans to enlist students on Florida campuses to push the movement forward. Their drive will be focusing on issues, not candidates or political affiliations. 

"We intend to register the people that are forgotten the Black, the brown, the indigent, the poor, the LGBT community and we will meet them where they are, in the classrooms, in the mall, at the club, on the corner, at the bus stop," said the Dream Defenders Executive Director Philip Agnew at a press conference Thursday, according to Tampa Bay Times.

Agnew added that there is a need to "build power" so that "when the time comes again for us to move on issues like the school-to-prison pipeline, like racial profiling, like Stand Your Ground, we don't have to sit on the floor again." 

The Dream Defenders began organizing against the Stand Your Ground law after George Zimmerman was acquitted of second-degree murder charges in the killing of Trayvon Martin. Hip hop artist Talib Kweli joined the protesters Thursday and in the past weeks, Harry Belafonte and Rev. Jesse Jackson have stood with them as well.

Last Friday, Rep. Matt Gaetz told the Tampa Bay Times that he doesn't "support changing one damn comma of the Stand Your Ground law," in response to news that Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford ordered hearings this fall for the controversial law. He added, "It would be reactionary and dangerous to make Floridians less safe to pacify uninformed protesters."

Three days into their protest, the group met with Gov. Rick Scott, who did not allow them the special legislative session they are demanding to repeal the law. Scott told them he agreed with the state's Task Force on Citizen Safety and Protection that backed the Stand Your Ground law in February.

But Agnew said the students will remain camped out until they receive their request. "As long as it takes. I think a lot of us would love to see what 40 days and 40 nights feels like," he said.

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(Photo: Gainesville Sun/Landov)

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