The Dream Defenders was founded in April 2012 after the tragic killing of 17-year old Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman in Sanford, Florida.
That Spring, young Black, Latinx, and Arab youth marched from Daytona Beach Florida to Sanford Florida where Trayvon Martin was killed. With that fire in their bellies, they then went back to their communities and campuses to organize. One year later, after George Zimmerman was acquitted, the Dream Defenders occupied the Florida State Capitol for 30 nights and 31 days, demanding a repeal of the Stand Your Ground law. Although they didn’t get the law changed, they knew we had done something equally important – they had built the groundwork for a movement that would spark thousands of young people in Florida and across the country to take action. They all went back to our communities across the state ready to continue the work. Today, the Dream Defenders is organizing Black and Brown youth to build power in Floridian communities to advance a new vision they have for the state. Its agenda is called the Freedom Papers. Through it, it is advancing its vision of safety and security – away from prisons, deportation, and war – and towards healthcare, housing, jobs and movement for all.