Florida Student on MSNBC Asks Lizzo, Biden, Colbert for Help

MSNBC’s Katie Phang on Sunday interviewed an organizer of a student walkout in Florida to protest decisions by the Florida Department of Education and Gov. Ron DeSantis that took place on Thursday.

Ben Braver is a University of South Florida student organizer who, with students from several other universities, helped organize Thursday’s “Stand for Freedom” walkouts put together by Florida College Democrats and the Miami-based socialist “revolutionary organization” Dream Defenders.

Phang introduced her guests Braver and state Rep. Anna Eskamani with a dramatic summary of the walkout and a sinister implication about DeSantis.

Shouting ‘racist, sexist, anti-gay, Ron DeSantis go away,’ the protest was organized by the Florida College Democrats and Dream Defenders. The walkout was also prompted by the Republican governor formally requesting that state universities provide information on, quote, ‘the numbers and ages of their students who sought or received gender dysphoria treatment, including sex reassignment surgery and hormone prescriptions.’

“It remains unclear why DeSantis would need that information or what he plans to do with it. But considering DeSantis’ efforts to restrict transgender health care access in Florida and his relentless attacks on LGBTQ rights, the reasons are likely not good,” Phang said ominously.

The host turned first to Braver, asking how the protest went and if any more are planned.

He described the walkout as “inspiring” and “amazing.”

That statewide walkout was one of the most inspiring moments of my life. To see the thousands of students walk out for their freedoms, for their rights, for their right to an education, for the right to access new ideas and to engage with new ideas. It was just amazing.

Braver said that the groups do have more events planned for the future, including marching to the capitol, but that they need very big help to do it.

“If you value freedom, if you’re a listener, a watcher, a reader who values freedoms, you’re Republican who values freedom. If you’re a Democrat who values freedom, if you’re Lizzo or John Oliver or Stephen Colbert or Joe Biden, and you value freedom: Help us,” he said.

“Help the million college, public college students in Florida. Speak up for our rights to reclaim our narrative,” he continued. “Tell us how you think we can do better. Be the diverse thought we rely on.”

Toward the end of the discussion, Phang asked the student organizer to speak to “people that are outside the state of Florida.”

“We need your help. We are scared, too,” said Braver. “The students, the faculty and staff are scared.”

Braver directed viewers to seek out their funding page, and said, “Help us speak our minds. We are all scared because if we have a governor who doesn’t value freedom, then what does he value?”

Watch the clips above via MSNBC.

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