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Dream Defenders Launch #SquaDD2016 "Presidential" Campaign: "We're Black, Brown, Radical & Tired as Hell"

StoryMarch 16, 2016
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Guests
Ashley Green

president of the Dream Defenders’ SquaDD2016, a newly launched community-led presidential campaign and alternative political platform. They’re also an organizer with the Florida Public Service Union.


As Florida voters went to the polls to cast their votes based on a narrow list of candidates—two Democrats and four Republicans—organizers across the state were launching their own community-led presidential campaign, dubbed SquaDD2016. It’s the latest initiative from the Florida activist group the Dream Defenders, which formed in the wake of the death of Trayvon Martin. In 2013, the group occupied the Florida state House for 31 days to protest Florida’s controversial "Stand Your Ground" laws. Since then, the Dream Defenders has organized around voting rights and access. And now the group is imagining what the country would look like if its organizers occupied Washington, D.C., itself. In the launch video, SquaDD2016 explains, "We are the future of this yet-to-be-great country: black, brown, radical and tired as hell. Imagine with us, what would be possible if we ran for the highest offices in this country?" SquaDD2016 already has a presidential Cabinet, complete with a vice president, secretary of commerce, secretary of education, two secretaries of state, an attorney general and a newly created position, the "secretary of shade," to keep people honest.


TRANSCRIPT
This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: As we move now to our last segment, we’re going to go right now to Florida. Ashley Green is the president of Dream Defenders. As Florida voters went to the polls to cast their votes based on a narrow list of candidates—two Democrats, four Republicans—organizers across the state were launching their own community-led presidential campaign, dubbed SquaDD2016. It’s the latest initiative from the Florida activist group the Dream Defenders, which formed in the wake of the death of Trayvon Martin. In 2013, the group occupied the Florida state House for 31 days to protest Florida’s controversial "Stand Your Ground" laws. Since then, the Defenders have organized around voting rights and access. Now the group is imagining what the country would look like if its organizers occupied Washington, D.C., itself. SquaDD2016 Vice President Umi Selah said he and the other Cabinet members are, quote, "the future of this yet-to-be-great country."

We turn now to Tampa, Florida, where we’re joined by Ashley Green, a Florida labor organizer, SquaDD2016’s nominee for president.

Ashley, welcome to Democracy Now! Explain what you’re doing.

ASHLEY GREEN: Really, we’re trying to address the real dissatisfaction that’s happening right now within our political process. We have a very limited list of political candidates, who speak more about us than they do to us. And so, SquaDD2016 is really an effort to reclaim our own voices within this process, not to be treated as tokens from a very selective menu of political issues when we talk about black and brown votes, particularly young black and brown votes, and to really make sure that we, ourselves, understand our power and our responsibility in this election to carve out a better future for this country than what’s being presented right now.

AMY GOODMAN: So, talk about the Cabinet.

ASHLEY GREEN: Well, the Cabinet is our effort to really make sure that sort of the diverse voices across the state of Florida, across Dream Defenders, and really across this movement that’s emerging right now between black and brown bodies, are really represented. And so, we have a secretary of commerce, secretary—a couple of secretaries of state, attorney general, secretary of education—my own personal favorite, secretary of shade—who all bring their unique voice and perspective into this conversation and really get down to the issues that we feel are relevant, that are only being superficially discussed in this election right now.

AMY GOODMAN: Very quickly, as president of—president in this new SquaDD2016, your key core issues? We have 30 seconds.

ASHLEY GREEN: Oh, we’re looking to really review and completely, radically change our foreign policy approach, our immigration approach, our approach to prison and detention, our approaches to education. They’re common issues that are still only surfacely addressed right now. We need radical solutions. And the way that we’re talking about reform of these systems are simply not meeting the needs of our communities.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, we will link to your website at ours, democracynow.org. Ashley Green, president of the Dream Defenders’ new SquaDD2016, newly launched community-led presidential campaign and alternative political platform, speaking to us from Tampa, Florida.

We have three job openings: broadcast engineer, director of finance and operations and director of development. Visit democracynow.org for more information.

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