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March on Washington: The next generation

Reported by: Dawn Lopez
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Updated: 8/28/2013 11:54 am
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Many of the people gathering in Washington for the historic 50th Anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have A Dream" speech, weren't even born in 1963.

There's a new generation of young people emerging to take the torch of the new civil rights agenda of our time.

"With the unfortunate untimely death of Trayvon Martin, it sparked our younger generation to realize there's something wrong with the justice system," said Amber Holland, organizer for the Dream Defenders who held a sit-in at Gov. Rick Scott's office after the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the Trayvon Martin shooting.

Holland is also a leader with the group Florida New Majority, which has a branch in Jacksonville.

"I think previously, the years before, we were too emerged with trying to make sure we fit in and assimilate with everybody, but stuff still isn't right," Holland said.

She said the death of Trayvon Martin woke up young sleeping giants all over the nation.

She said hundreds have found civic groups, student unions and community organizations to join and lend their talents.

They're finding their voice and using it. Plus, with the help of technology today, they're far more effective.

"You have different tools now, like social media. All these things now weren't back then--we can get the message out quicker and the impact shows a lot faster," Holland said.

From cold calls for voter registration to knocking on doors for literature drops, Holland and the other young volunteers she works with are giving their energy to their causes.

From advocating an increase in the minimum wage, to gay and lesbian issues, to immigration and voting rights for ex-felons, Holland said to label her generation as complacent is unfair. There are many who are still fighting for better schools, neighborhoods and job opportunities. She said the fight isn't over.

"It's very much alive, but taking on a new connotation, a new face. Now it's time to unveil the new mission, and see a new face."
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BARBARA VICKERS.FORMER MISS JACKSONVILLE ALJA JACKSON.
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