Protesters crowd governor's office, demand an end to Stand Your Ground law

Published July 16, 2013

More than 60 student activists crammed into Gov. Rick Scott's office Tuesday to demand a repeal of the state's controversial Stand Your Ground law.

The activists, known as the Dream Defenders, made other demands, too. They want Scott to convene a special session of the Florida Legislature to address racial profiling, zero tolerance policies in schools, and the so-called school-to-prison pipeline.

They also want to see a Trayvon Martin Civil Rights Act passed in Florida.

"If the courts aren't going to deal with these issues, we have to call upon our elected officials to make changes," said Nailah Summers, 25, a Miami Beach native and president of the University of Florida chapter of the Dream Defenders.

The demonstration comes three days after George Zimmerman was found not guilty in the shooting death of Martin, an unarmed teenager.

"We are here because we need justice for Trayvon," said Estefania Galviz, a 22-year-old student from Jacksonville, who traveled to Sanford to hear the verdict. "Trayvon represents the black and brown community and the youth of this country. Clearly, we are not treated equally."

The group has pledged to stay in Scott's lobby until they meet with the governor himself.

Scott is in New York and isn't due back until Tuesday night. But the protestors say they are willing to wait.

"We're hoping he sees the seriousness of the issue and hurries home," said Ahmad Abuznaid, 28, the Dream Defender's legal and policy director. "We know New York is a great place to visit, but we have business to take care of here at home."