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Dream Defenders host community workshop on de-funding Gainesville police

More than 100 people joined the Zoom call to offer input on what de-funding looks like in Gainesville
Published: Jul. 9, 2020 at 11:46 PM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) -

To the Dream Defenders of Gainesville, defunding the police department is a step the community needs. The group held a community workshop via Zoom to educate people and debunk defunding myths, explain abolition versus reform and create a plan for change in Gainesville.

One of the organizers said, “It’s a way of divesting from our prison and police system and investing in our communities.” After questions and demands from people wanting to ensure what happened to George Floyd won’t happen in Gainesville, the police department released policies on use of force in an effort to be transparent.

A speaker said, "We can't just like defund the police and put it into, let's say one specific organization." The goal for the group was to think of community issues that funds could be reallocated to.

Dream Defender Kiara Laurent said, "It's for the people to come up with what they want to see in Gainesville, it's not really for us to tell them what they need but to ask them what do you need so we can help create a better future in general. Because it's obviously hard enough when a lot of the money doesn't even go towards communities in Gainesville itself."

These ideas included mental health services and public schools. But to do that, Dream Defenders add that people need to bring these ideas to their city and county leaders.

Laurent added, "Now that the election is coming up, how they want to hold these people accountable who are being elected or who are having these roles."

The Dream Defenders next call to action is for people to participate in their virtual candidates’ forum for Alachua County Sheriff.

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