Protestors calling themselves Dream Defenders occupied Governor Ron DeSantis’ office for a few hours today. They were arrested and removed by the police. Their goal was to call attention to his hateful policies.

Dream defenders Arrested Press Release

For Immediate Release

May 3, 2023

Akin Olla, (862)-202-5697‬,



Members of Dream Defenders and Allies Arrested by Police Using Rule Created to Target Them Specifically

Fourteen members of the Dream Defenders and allied organizations, including the HOPE Community Center, Florida Immigrant Coalition, Equality Florida, Florida Rising, and others were arrested by dozens of police from the Capitol Police and Florida Highway Patrol after occupying the office of Ron DeSantis. Police used the “Dream Defenders rule” to justify their removal from public property, which was created after their 2013 occupation of the statehouse to protest the murder of Trayvon Martin. The rule bans being in the Florida Capitol outside of operating hours. Reporters trying to capture the arrests were also removed, including one USA Today Professor who was forcibly removed by a police officer.

“Gov. DeSantis and Republican lawmakers have chosen to attack many of Florida’s most vulnerable and historically marginalized communities with policies that attack who they are, who they love and how and what they learn,” said Dwight Bullard, Sr. Political Advisor at Florida Rising who was arrested during the protest.

The Dream Defenders planned the sit-in as part of a national protest called Freedom to Learn. The protest addressed the many issues facing Floridians, and called for a meeting with DeSantis to share the impact the legislative session has had on communities. Speakers used the 7-point platform, The Freedom Papers as a guide for their action, painting an alternative vision for the country to the agenda of extremist politicians like DeSantis. The Freedom Papers were created out of a process that engaged thousands of Floridians about their community’s most pressing needs.

“By virtue of being born, we are entitled to a real dignified democracy that gives us a say on our blocks, in our cities, in our schools, and the places we work,” said Nailah Summers-Polite, co-director of Dream Defenders and the first to be arrested.

“This is not a singular issue situation, this is the culmination of every repressive piece of legislation that has been passed this session. We need him to care for the people and not a cultural agenda to win his way to the presidency,” said Jamil Davis, Florida state organizing manager of Black Voters Matter.

“We need to build a national movement against Ron DeSantis, but to fight people like him all over the country. We need to unite and protect the little democracy we have left after centuries of domination by corporations and slave holders,” said Rachel Gilmer, Director of the Healing Justice Center, which works to treat the root causes of gun violence. “We will hold this space until DeSantis faces us and exposes himself as the racist neo-confederate that he is.”

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