People attending the “Let Freedom Ring” ceremony yesterday, featuring President Obama, were expecting to hear from Philip Agnew, executive director of the Dream Defenders in Florida, and Sofia Campos, chairperson of the immigrant rights youth-led organization United We Dream. Both names were listed on the ceremony’s program. But as Agnew was about to take the stage, he was told that he could not speak. Campos was also told she could not speak.
Talk about civil rights action interrupted, the Dream Defenders camped out in the Florida capitol building in Tallahassee for a full month in protest of the George Zimmerman verdict, and to demand new laws that would dismantle school-to-prison pipelines, racial profiling and Stand Your Ground gun laws. Campos, 24, is helping lead a movement demanding humane immigrant rights reform, which has called out Obama on his record-setting deportations.
Agnew is now calling for people to publish their own dream speeches on video and post them on Twitter and Facebook. The Dream Defenders are releasing today a video of the speech Agnew was going to deliver at the ceremony yesterday.
“This is about more than the speech,” said Agnew. “It’s about the voices of hundreds of thousands of people across the country that have been silenced for too long. Our generation’s dreams have been deferred for too long. While the words spoken amidst the pillars of the Lincoln Memorial yesterday may have reverberated throughout the nation, the actions, energy and love of the rising generation will resound in history books for centuries to come, like those of giants before us.”