State Lawmakers Remember Civil Rights Leader Julian Bond, His Impact On Florida Politics

Aug 17, 2015

Julian Bond, civil rights leader and longtime NAACP chairman, speaking in 2013 at the Florida Capitol alongside the group calling themselves the Dream Defenders.
Credit Florida Channel

The Florida Legislature held a moment of silence for civil rights leader Julian Bond, who passed away over the weekend.

Before the start of the House Session on redistricting, Tallahassee Democratic Representative Alan Williams asked for Florida lawmakers to remember the civil rights icon.

“Members, I rise today to pay tribute to Julian Bond, former Chairman of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and Former Georgia State Legislator, who passed away Saturday at Fort Walton Beach, Florida,” said Williams.

Williams went on to talk of Bond’s achievements in the civil rights movement. He also spoke about the impact Bond had on a controversial moment close to home.

“Most recently, in the Summer of 2013, it was Julian Bond who came to the state Capitol and gave the Dream Defenders a way to lead the Capitol for those 30 days and 30 nights,” added Williams. “He was the peaceful resolve that we needed to end that action, and move them on to that action on their own.”

Williams is referring to the 31-day protest by the group calling themselves the Dream Defenders, who held a month-long sit-in at the Capitol a couple years ago. They were railing against Florida’s controversial Stand Your Ground law and wanted the Governor and the Legislature to agree to a special session.

Among those who showed their support and made appearances at the Capitol: the Reverend Jesse Jackson as well as singer and civil rights activist Harry Belafonte. Bond came on the last day, when the Dream Defenders announced they were going to end their protest.

“These young people have much work ahead of them,” said Bond, at the time. “They remind me, I have to say, very much of myself when I was their age, thinking that I could change the world…making some changes, still waiting for others to happen…still active as I could possibly be in the movement for social change.”

According to his wife, Bond—who had some circulatory problems—died at the age of 75 after a brief illness at his vacation home in the Florida Panhandle.

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