Our Story

The Beginning

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

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 we didn’t get the law changed, we knew we had done something equally important – we had built the groundwork for a movement that would spark thousands of young people in Florida and across the country to take action. We all went back to our communities across the state ready to continue the work. 

Today

Today, the Dream Defenders is a multiracial group of young people who are organizing to build power in our communities to advance a new vision we have for the state. Our agenda is called the Freedom Papers. Through it, we are advancing our vision of safety and security –  away from prisons, deportation, and war – and towards healthcare, housing, jobs and movement for all.