For all Jackson’s focus on Florida’s lax gun laws, Chicago has more gun control and a higher murder rate. More than 506 victims (as many as 75 percent black) were murdered in Chicago’s Cook County last year — half the number of total Florida homicide victims and 39 percent more than the combined total for South Florida’s comparable three major urban counties, Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach.
Florida does lay claim to being the first state to pass Stand Your Ground, which spread quickly to other states. And despite a recommendation from a governor’s task force, lawmakers have refused to fund a study of the law to look at issues of “race, ethnicity, gender, application and fairness.”
But the Florida House last week announced it will hold hearings.
That’s a sign of the effectiveness of the Dream Defenders, who have also attracted the likes of Harry Belafonte, activist Kevin Powell and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Nan Rich, a tireless kids-rights crusader, to visit their Tallahassee protest. Rap star Talib Kweli, one of hip-hop’s most-thoughtful voices, plans to visit Thursday.
How long the Dream Defenders will occupy the Capitol is unclear. They want a special legislative session to hear their concerns, which are not limited to Stand Your Ground.
Dream Defenders Director Phillip Agnew said the group is just as adamant that the Legislature take up racial profiling and the “school-to-prison pipeline.”
“Those other two pillars are just as important to us,” Agnew said Saturday. “We’ve got some great ideas and we’d like to get them before a committee of lawmakers.”
Perhaps they could also show Jesse Jackson their great way of effectively protesting without mangling the truth.