In a far-reaching effort to turn out the vote, Dream Defenders released an ad that tells the African-American community they have a choice to either vote or be forced to wear bullet-proof vests.
Not to protect them from criminals, but from the police or “a vigilante.”
A charge that ignores the reality that young black males are at a far greater risk of being shot by other black males, according to statistics.
“Did you study?” an African-American mother asks her son in the somber ad. “You know, baby, I’m going to need you to wear that vest today.”
The young son hesitates, but just before she helps him strap on a bullet-proof vest, the mother tells him: “I need to know when I’m at work that you’re going to be safe.”
The ad mentions the death of 18-year-old Michael Brown, and even reaches back to 2012 in recalling the death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.
“Every 28 hours an African-American is killed by a police officer, security guard or vigilante,” the ad says. “No parent in America should have to put their child in a bulletproof vest. On Nov. 4, you have a choice: Vest or Vote.”
“It’s what we call exaggerated reality,” Dream Defenders communication director Steve Pargett told Buzzfeed. “But here in Florida, it really is the way that mothers are thinking. Mothers are scared for their children. And young people don’t feel as safe as they did before Trayvon Martin was killed. It’s a reality for people living here.”
The ad is also being featured on the group’s website, which highlights the hashtag #VestOrVote. In general, black voter turnout in midterm elections drops off significantly and the success of the Democratic Party is directly impacted by this.
Dream Defenders, an activist group funded in part by the Service Employees International Union and the George Soros-funded Tides Foundation, according to The Daily Caller, was heavily involved in the protest movement that followed the death of Trayvon Martin. Propped up by the Department of Justice’s Community Relations Services, sent to Florida by Attorney General Eric Holder, the group is best known for holding a protracted sit-in just outside the Florida governor’s office last summer in a failed attempt to force the state to readdress the self-defense law known as Stand Your Ground.
The activists targeted the law after George Zimmerman was acquitted in the death of Trayvon Martin, even though Stand Your Ground was not used as a defense.
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