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We are an organization of diverse youth, young adults and students fighting for a better future. We are a new generation of influencers, artists, leaders and organizers tired of having our dreams deferred. Through direct-action organizing, and an unlimited creativity, we build concrete POWER on our campuses and in our communities.
The Dream Defenders were founded in the wake of the Trayvon Martin murder, when young people from around the state of Florida took direct action, partaking in civil disobedience by blocking the Sanford police station doors and demanding: the arrest of George Zimmerman, the firing of Sanford’s police chief, and the creation of a community panel to oversee police relations in the city. Within two days Zimmerman was arrested, within a week the Sanford police chief Bill Lee resigned, and by the end of the year, the oversight panel was up and running. The organization was formed from this point forward, purposed with building a movement from a moment and translating anger into transformative action for young people, poor people, and communities of color.
Since Dream Defenders’ inception in April 2012, our organization has grown from a few dozen students to a statewide network with active chapters across Florida. We have done this through a seamless union of relational organizing, social media messaging that speaks to the issues, desires, and anxieties of a generation rising, and a commitment to developing true leadership unafraid of conflict.
From July 16 to August 15 of 2013, the Dream Defenders engaged in a highly publicized 31-day, 30-night sit-in at the Florida state capitol. A rapid response to the Zimmerman verdict, the “dream-in” engaged and energized young people around the country, and won us a debate on Stand Your Ground gun laws.
As Dream Defenders we defend the people’s POWER to determine the destinies of our communities. We defend the right of all to a quality education and to live free of police brutality, racial profiling, and mass incarceration. We believe that militancy; nonviolence, love & unity will always triumph over racism and hate. We will not rest, until victory is won.