Starting in 2014, the Dream Defenders launched the BLOC Is Ours voter engagement project. The BLOC Is Ours is the organization’s field program, based in on-the-ground organizing by young people of color across Florida. The goal is to collectively create a new model for educating and activating youth of color in election years; creating a permanent infrastructure of trained leaders who can move not just on voting to vote, but on issues and community building. The program is firmly rooted in leadership development and the training of youth; at their college campuses, and in their communities. Dream Defenders believe that collectively, we can build a statewide BLOC with the power to influence the trajectory of Florida’s politics, and work on issue-based campaigns that improve the lives of black and brown people in between election years. We’re only as strong as our youth, our communities, and our ability to educate. This campaign has two phases. We are currently in phase one that has our BLOC leaders concentrated in: Leon, Alachua, Hillsborough, Volusia, Orange, Miami-Dade, and Broward Counties. (picture of the BLOC Leaders attached) After a rigorous round of interviews, 14 Bloc Leaders were selected and from March 21st - March 23rd, the newly selected BLOC Leaders went to the renowned Highlander Center in Tennessee where Rosa Parks and countless other movement leaders and got training on Kingian Nonviolence from the East Point Peace Academy. BLOC Leaders are all over Florida now, interacting with the community, throwing events, and getting people to sign Dream Pledges, which is our system to continue building real political power, and a database of real people throughout the state, taking note of which issues that they care about.
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