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A new generation takes up Martin Luther King Jr.'s torch (+video)

Fifty years after King's March on Washington, young civil rights activists push dreams of their own.

Monitor staffer Pat Murphy goes behind the scenes with correspondent Carmen Sisson from Greenwood Miss., on her coverage of a new generation of civil rights activists.
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Rosanna Rizo clutches her iPhone, searching Florida Gov. Rick Scott's office for a place to sit. Every spot is occupied, from the palm tree-embossed chairs to the gold-colored couch. Finally, she drops to the floor and squeezes beside friends Giovanni Rocco and Issis Alvarez, making sure to keep her toes behind the yellow tape that zigzags across the forest green carpet.

The demarcation, while not exactly haute décor, has become a necessity since July 16, when the Dream Defenders – a youth-led activist group – moved into the state Capitol in hopes of pressuring Governor Scott to call a special session of the state Legislature. The members want Florida to repeal its controversial "stand your ground" law – and discuss broader concerns surrounding racial profiling – in the wake of the not guilty verdict that exonerated George Zimmerman in the shooting death of black teenager Trayvon Martin.

Ms. Rizo rode 10 hours to join the protest here because she's concerned about her 16-year-old brother, who she worries could be shot someday for simply wearing the wrong clothing. "I ... get so angry," she says. "We have to tell our brothers, sons, cousins not to do this or that or not to wear a hoodie because it can get you killed."

The scene in the governor's office is the same throughout the building, where more than 100 protesters have set up a surprisingly sophisticated command post.

En masse, the mostly Millennial mélange overwhelms, which is part of its strategy.


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