Protestors gather at Lake Eola to rally against Florida laws

Organizer said rally was about LGBTQ+ rights and abortion

'March for Our Dreams and Freedom' rally at Lake Eola

PALM BAY, Fla. – A large crowd gathered at Lake Eola on Monday for a “March for Our Dreams and Freedom” rally.

The march organizer told News 6 that the rally was about advocating for a number of issues, including “rights” for LGBTQ+ people and abortion.

“There are human rights that are being violated and attacked, and we have to come together because our government is not for us right now,” Hope Community Center Event Coordinator Jeremy Rodriguez said.

The Florida Department of Education recently expanded rules originally put in place when the Parental Rights in Education bill was signed into law. The latest change prohibits teachers from discussing topics like sexual orientation and gender identity to students in pre-K through 12th grade.

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In April, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law the “Heartbeat Protection Act,” which bans abortions after six weeks. Supporters say the law protects unborn children at a time when their central nervous system begins to develop, though critics say the law unduly restricts women’s bodily autonomy.

Clinton McCracken, the union president for Orange County Public Schools, took part in the march.

“It’s really important that those students know that their teachers stand with them and that their school district stands with them,” McCracken said.

With the crowd of hundreds, McCracken said there is hope for change.

“In the history of our country, big changes, big shifts in perceptions of the public happen when lots of people of similar like-minded values stand together,” McCracken said.

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