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Rev. Jesse Jackson supports Dream Defenders

Civil Rights leader joins protestors at Florida Capitol

The Rev. Jesse Jackson addressed the media Tuesday after spending the night at Florida's Capitol.
The Rev. Jesse Jackson addressed the media Tuesday after spending the night at Florida's Capitol.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The ongoing protest in Florida's State Capitol is becoming a focal point for national civil rights leaders.

Singer Harry Belafonte was there Friday, and the crowd of sign-carrying protesters was highlighted by another nationally known civil rights leader Tuesday at the Capitol. The Dream Defenders were joined by Rev. Jesse Jackson.

"We intend to sit-in so justice can stand up," Jackson said.

Jackson made the decision to go to Tallahassee on Monday night.

"We want the governor to have a special session," Jackson said. "This is an emergency. People are crying out, people are hurting." 

Jackson's visit helps kick-off "The People's Session." The mock legislative session is the Dream Defenders version of a special legislative session. The group is trying to highlight what they are calling policies harmful to Florida's youth.

"Our roles as citizens are not to abide by a governance. It is to step up and take your part in it," said LaShanett Lorraine. 

The Dream Defenders are using events like the special session in Tallahassee to educate state leaders on changes they believe need to be made.

The group said it will continue to urge state lawmakers and the governor to call a special session of the Legislature to address the "stand your ground" law, racial profiling, and the school-to-prison pipeline. Jackson said he'll do what he can to help.

"We're going to bring in more adults and more ministers and more bishops, more students from around the state to mobilize in Tallahassee," Jackson said.

As the fight continues for the group, the likelihood of a special session still remains very unlikely.

Jackson said he would stay overnight with the Dream Defenders at the Capitol.

Through Monday, the overall cost for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement in relation to the protests has been $212,337.53.