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Friday, Dec 19, 2014

Fresh Squeezed

A Florida Politics Blog

Made fresh, never frozen, here's the juice on local and state politics from the staff of The Tampa Tribune, The St. Petersburg Tribune and the Tribune/Scripps Capital Bureau.

Dream Defenders return to the Capitol Monday


Published:

After laying low this legislative session, the Dream Defenders plan a return to the Capitol on Monday, according to a Friday email.

The Defenders, who staged a month-long, round-the-clock sit-in this summer, “will deliver a petition signed by more than 5,800 people to Gov. Rick Scott demanding that the state stop discriminating against black and Hispanic students by setting lower academic goals for students of color,” the email said.

The petition drive also was organized by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Its managing attorney and Dream Defenders representatives will deliver the paperwork 1:30 p.m. Monday, they said.

The law center filed a federal civil rights lawsuit in August. It says the Florida Department of Education discriminated against black and Hispanic students in its strategic plan.

Department spokeswoman Cheryl Etters rejected the premise of the complaint.

“I can tell you that we want ALL Florida students to be proficient and we do not have separate academic goals,” she said in an email.

The Dream Defenders’ protest made headlines internationally and attracted the likes of actor-singer Harry Belafonte, rapper Talib Kweli, and civil-rights pioneers Jesse Jackson and Julian Bond.

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