Dream Defenders continue to oppose Florida's stand your ground gun law
This week activists fed up with Florida's "stand your ground" gun law rallied in the state capitol, Tallahassee. The Dream Defenders is a group mostly made up of youth of color formed shortly after George Zimmerman was found not guilty of shooting and killing Trayvon Martin.
WMNF interviewed Jabari Mickles, with Dream Defenders, who participated in Monday's rally.
"The rally on Monday was to help support people in Florida who want to repeal Stand Your Ground. A lot of people came out because we have been lobbying against Stand Your Ground and the elections are coming up so it's just a way to get people motivated to () legislators who are not against it out of office. It was really nice. It was about 400 to 500 people, I believe. There was a lot of energy. A lot of people were eager to be there. We were with some youths so they got to understand fully the political process. The speakers were great. It was very helpful to have people from across the country that just want Florida here to talk about repealing Stand Your Ground."
Why do you oppose Stand Your Ground? What do you see as an alternative?
"We're against any law that gives the right to kill a legalized murder. Right now we see a lot of bias in the way it's used in the judiciary system. We think that people should have the right to retreat even if they feel their life is in imminent danger. It's an option and they should use it. Also we think that if you have a law that says you must kill a person in order to use the law it also makes it hard for the person to defend themselves. For example, people like Jordan Davis and Trayvon Martin, it seemed more like they were on trial than Michael Dunn and George Zimmerman because they don't have a voice. They don't get to argue their case.()"
In the Florida legislature there is a bill that's moving along, it's been approved by a final Senate Committee. It's called the warning shot bill. That's kind of tied into the case of Marissa Alexander. What do you think about that bill?
"I think that will give them a chance to give warning shots without facing 50 years in prison. I think that Marissa Alexander's case is really, really, difficult to not be empathetic with because gave a warning shot to a person that was physically abusive and known to be physically abusive and she still got the years that Michael Dunn got but he also wasn't guilty for killing Jordan Davis, he was guilty of attempted murder of other youths. For example, George Zimmerman still didn't get those years and he killed a person. I think it's crazy that warning shots would actually get more time than actually killing somebody. So I think that, yeah, it's a good idea but it still doesn't attack the issue that's going on."
What are the next steps? What can we expect to see from the Dream Defenders in the near future in Florida and in Tallahassee?
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"One is for registration. We're having a town hall on March 29th at the Lauren Gregory community center, 1015 8th St. to talk about the issues that we feel are huge in Florida. For example it's called Kids (). It's just about how blacks and brown youth and even some white youth are being viewed as criminals. Right now we're just from bad environments and a lot of it is bias. We're really organizing around that. Also about using the vote in this election coming up."