Singer Harry Belafonte Says Florida May Come ‘Grinding To A Halt’ If It Doesn’t Reconsider ‘Stand Your Ground’

Whether Gov. Scott takes Belafonte's words seriously or not, the Dream Defenders vow he will have to deal with them, because they're not going anywhere. Image @ Twitchy

Whether Gov. Scott takes Belafonte’s words seriously or not, the Dream Defenders vow he will have to deal with them, because they’re not going anywhere. Image @ Twitchy

Three days after George Zimmerman was acquitted of the murder of Trayvon Martin, a student group calling themselves the Dream Defenders moved into the Florida state Capitol to protest and to pressure Gov. Rick Scott to call a special session of the legislature. Their demand is that the state’s ‘Stand Your Ground’ law–the law that is blamed for allowing Zimmerman to, in the words of one juror, ‘get away with murder’–be rewritten or repealed. The Dream Defenders recently released a video explaining why they were undertaking this action and their numbers have been growing ever since.

On Friday, the group got their biggest boost yet. Music icon and civil rights activist, 86-year-old Harry Belafonte, joined them, saying the sight of them “makes my autumn heart dance like it was spring.”  The singer called upon Gov. Scott to meet the protesters demands before the situation becomes ‘ungovernable’.  He said:

“At the moment all of this is governable, all of this is in a place where it can be debated and analyzed and discussed in a very peaceful, calm, productive way.”

He clarified that by ‘ungovernable,’ he meant that the protests would swell, making the state difficult to manage and discouraging tourism. Belafonte told the Dream Defenders:

“If they reject you, then the world will pay attention to what’s happening to you, and it is possible that Florida could become ungovernable. By ungovernable, I don’t mean violent. But it could mean tens of thousand of people will join you.”

Gov. Scott already met with some of the protesters and told them he would not call a special session. However, he is not their only option. The Dream Defenders are seeking 32 legislators to sign a petition to the Secretary of State requesting a special session; they have 28 signatures so far. If they achieve 32, then 3/5 of the 160 legislators would have to agree. It may seem like a steep uphill climb, but the students are undeterred. Their rally on Friday was the biggest yet, with students from around the country participating.

While a small band has spent every night in the Capitol since the protest began, at least 100 were expected to spend the weekend. Belafonte pledged to support their efforts with money, fundraising, and by bringing a global focus to their cause. He told local news station WTSP that civil rights in America are going backward:

“I think there’s a cultural conspiracy on race. I really do. The very fact that the court at the hearing for Mr. Zimmerman refused to let race be part of the plea, part of the discourse, says an awful lot to the rest of us that America is shutting its door on the bigger truth.”

Speaking of the growing non-violent movement in the face of Scott’s resistance to changing the law, Belafonte continued:

“We know how to stop the machine and I think the last thing that the governor and this Legislature would want to see is that the state of Florida comes to a grinding halt. That’s in the offing.”

Whether Gov. Scott takes Belafonte’s words seriously or not, the Dream Defenders vow he will have to deal with them, because they’re not going anywhere until they get what they want. Protester Ciara Taylor said:

“I’m prepared to spend a whole month, a whole season. I’m prepared to be here till next legislative session if that’s necessary.”

Changing the law isn’t just necessary. These kids have seen that change is a matter of life and death. Clearly, the threat of death stalks their own numbers when a young boy, nearly their own age, can be murdered with impunity during the simple act of walking home.