Wednesday, July 24, 2013

YOUTH occupy Florida capitol demand justice for Treyvon and free Marissa

Published: Tuesday 23 July 2013
For the last three nights, a growing group has camped out in the Florida Capitol building, demanding the governor address their concerns about the Zimmerman acquittal.
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While many pundits anticipated riots if George Zimmerman was acquitted on charges of murdering Trayvon Martin, that first response was a series of peaceful yet forceful protests in cities including Oakland, Chicago, and New York.
Now, less than a week later, a more sustained answer to the verdict is taking shape in Florida’s capitol building in Tallahassee, Florida.
The occupation of the capitol began on Monday, July 15, when a crowd of people began to gather just outside the doors to the office of Florida governor Rick Scott. The protestors—most of them affiliated with a group called Dream Defenders, which originally formed in response to Martin’s killing—are demanding a meeting with Scott, says Melanie Andrade, a member of the group who spoke from Tallahassee. They want the governor to convene a special legislative session to address injustices revealed by the Zimmerman acquittal, she says.
Andrade says she knows that special legislative sessions get called "only when the state is in a state of emergency."
But she says that the current situation qualifies.
"I’m a black woman and I’m 21 years old," she said. "I’m in a state of emergency. The state of Florida is in a state of emergency because the verdict proves that this state doesn’t value the lives of black and brown children. If a grown man is allowed to use a gun against a person he’s afraid of, how am I supposed to defend myself against that?"
The protestors want the special session to take up what they call the "Trayvon Martin Civil Rights Act," which would include legislation to change policy around racial profiling and the "school-to-prison pipeline," as well as repealing the state’s Stand Your Ground law, which allows a person to shoot and kill another if they feel their life is in danger.

Governor Scott was in New York on Monday, but when security guards told the protestors that they needed to lock the gates at five o’clock on Monday afternoon, they did not clear out. Fifteen stayed inside and spent the night engaged in an intense mix of discussion, planning, and—eventually—sleep.
The next day, more supporters arrived from other cities, including Miami, Gainesville, and Jacksonville. They range in age from 17 to 48, according to Daniel Agnew, who has been sleeping in the capitol since Monday night. And when it came time to lock the gates on Tuesday, 35 people decided to stay overnight—more than twice as many as on the night before. On Wednesday night, again, 35 people remained. Agnew expects that number to grow over the next few days.
"The normal amount of sleep for any individual here is around two hours," Agnew said. "And it’s a beautiful thing because we’re learning every day. We analyze what happened that day, and we continue to grow as we do it."
Agnew points to the example of social media. Once the group realized that their story was spreading on Twitter and Facebook, he said, they developed a team to keep their followers posted on what’s happening inside the capitol building, using Twitter hashtags such as #takeovertuesday and #wakeupwednesday.
But nights in the building aren’t just about strategy. A big part of what’s going on is communication about the experience of racism. "Every night when the doors close," Agnew said, "we have one-on-ones with new faces that we don’t know. We hear the injustices and the racial profiling. It fuels our flames."
More established groups are stepping in to support the demonstrators including Tallahassee’s New Jerusalem Baptist Church and the Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church. Representatives from Dream Defenders have also met with the president of the Southern Christian Leadership Council and the Urban League.
If that mix of organizations sounds reminiscent of earlier civil rights struggles, Agnew says it’s not that simple. "Understand that we’re young and we’re in a different time from past civil rights movements," he said. "It’s not a white and black thing. It’s not a male and female thing. We have old young, white, black, gay, straight. We can be cool. We’re not just these stern individuals."
And support for the action isn’t just coming from churches and organizations, either. Supporters from as far away as Australia are ordering supplies such as pizza, sandwiches, and personal hygiene items for the protestors. These are coming in so quickly that the group can’t use them all, and the excess is being delivered to a local homeless shelter.
If that part of the story might sounds reminiscent of Zuccotti Park during Occupy’s heyday, again, participants in the action say it’s not that simple.
"It’s more inclusive, if anything," Andrade says. "We’re trying to have an intergenerational multiracial space where people from different ethnicities, generations, and genders can feel safe in the same room talking about the school-to-prison pipeline and the war on youth and how racial profiling affects them."
Governor Scott has made no appearances at the capitol since the occupation began. His schedule, which has been widely circulated on social media, shows him in the Gulf Coast cities of Tampa and Bradenton today. And when the NAACP sent him a letter requesting that he "immediately" return to the state capital and address the anger over the Zimmerman verdict, Scott’s response included no promise to meet with the protestors.
Andrade says she expects to remain in the capitol building at least throughout the weekend and perhaps longer.
James Trimarco wrote this article for YES! Magazine, a national, nonprofit media project that fuses powerful ideas with practical actions. James is web editor at YES! Follow him on Twitter at @JamesTrimarco.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013


#Walk4Dignity Day 1 Bulletin


Freedom Summer 2013
Bulletin from the #Walk4Dignity, Day One
Monday, 7/22
From Jacksonville, FL to St. Augustine, FL

Support the #WalkforDignity this week by contributing funds for gas, water, food, and medical supplies. Donate at
The WALK FOR DIGNITY (and to End Genocide), kicked-off its first step toward justice for Trayvon Martin and freedom for Marissa Alexander with the Southern Movement Assembly (SMA) of the Southern Movement Alliance, covering 10 states in the South, and made up of dozens of grassroots organizations of the SOUTHERN FREEDOM MOVEMENT.
The WALK FOR DIGNITY will cover the entire 120 miles from Jacksonville, Florida anchored by the New Jim Crow Movement there, with overall coordination by Project South and the entire Southern Movement Alliance.  A social movement assembly was held in the evening to capture all the voices and regenerate the Southern Freedom Movement narrative for the 21st Century.  The night’s assembly and evening shelter was at the same church in St. Augustine where Martin Luther King Jr. stayed when he was refused entry into Jacksonville, fifty years ago during the Civil Rights era.
The first night’s stop was in St Augustine, a Spanish colonial settlement dating back to the middle of the 16th century.  The historical site is important because of the resistance led by the Native people of Seminole Nation, and enslaved Blacks who formed an alliance.  St. Augustine was also a point on the route of the Underground Railroad organized for the abolition of slavery.

WALK FOR DIGNITY Jacksonville to Sanford

Press: #Walk4Dignity goes to Bunnell FL!


PRESS RELEASE  / For Immediate Release / Date:  07.23.13Contacts: 

Walk Coordinators:
Aleta Alston-Toure, New Jim Crow Movement, Florida - 904-631-1674
Pastor Kenneth Glasgow, The Ordinary People’s Society, Alabama – 334-791-2433
Trap Bonner, Crescent City Media Group, New Orleans, Louisiana –
Stephanie Guilloud, Project South, Georgia – 404.936.2399
Jacksonville Spokespeople:
Anthony Heard, A Good Day in La Villa & New Jim Crow Movement  - 904-458-7576
Estephania Galvis, Justice for Trayvon & Dream Defenders - 813-898-9136

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Two Nights After Zimmerman Verdict, Protests Rip Through Los Angeles

Two Nights After Zimmerman Verdict, Protests Rip Through Los Angeles

Jae C. Hong/Associated Press
Protesters confronted the Los Angeles police during a demonstration Monday evening. More Photos »
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Protesters angered by the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin ran through the streets of Los Angeles, breaking windows and stopping traffic late Monday night as passions continued to simmer two nights after the Florida verdict. At least a dozen people were arrested.

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The Los Angeles Police Department declared a tactical alert at 9 p.m. as crowds swelled in the streets, and the police later declared an unlawful assembly, allowing them to arrest protesters who did not clear the streets. The protest began at 6 p.m. as a “prayer rally” in Leimert Park that was organized by Project Islamic H.O.P.E., but police officials said about 150 people broke off from that peaceful gathering and began committing vandalism and assaults.
Further north, demonstrators in Oakland blocked traffic along Interstate 880 for a brief period during the afternoon rush hour before authorities were able to clear the road.
The unrest in Los Angeles, the site of several nights of deadly rioting after the 1992 acquittal of police officers in the Rodney King beating, came after consecutive nights of largely peaceful protests in cities like New York, Oakland, Chicago, Washington and Atlanta.
The Los Angeles protests Monday night grew in intensity as the night wore on and were centered in the city’s Crenshaw District, a core of the city’s black community. The city’s new mayor, Eric Garcetti, cut short a planned trip because of the unrest and he appealed Monday night for the protesters to remain calm, following the example of the earlier prayer vigil.
“I commend the prayer rally attendees in Leimert Park for practicing peace. I call on people in street on Crenshaw to follow their example,” he said in a Twitter posting. He later tweeted, “We should respect Martin family’s call for peace. Unlawful assembly declared. Police are clearing area.”
At a news conference late Monday night, the mayor said that 13 people had been arrested.
KABC-TV in Los Angeles quoted the California Highway Patrol as saying that the protesters closed Interstate 10 by the Crenshaw Boulevard exit for a half-hour.
In Sanford, Fla., where the killing took place, things remained largely quiet on Monday, a marked contrast to the situation a year ago when tens of thousands of protesters demanded Mr. Zimmerman’s arrest. Extra police officers went on patrol and grocery stores hired more security guards. Convenience store clerks asked to be allowed to leave early when a verdict was near.
After Saturday night’s verdict, in which the jurors accepted Mr. Zimmerman’s claim that he shot Mr. Martin in self-defense, the teenager’s parents, Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin, were “heartbroken and devastated,” their lead lawyer said. Mr. Zimmerman’s whereabouts remained unknown to the public, and as of late Monday, according to his defense team, he had not collected the gun used in the episode, which the court had ordered released.
As protests over the verdict unfolded across the country, it became clear in Sanford that the widely forecast unrest was unlikely to come to pass.
“We might be angry about the verdict,” said Larry Williams, 55, as he sat in the air-conditioned chill of a friend’s barbershop in Goldsboro on Monday. “But why go out and do anything you would not want to do?”
Cara Buckley contributed reporting from Sanford, Fla.