Rev. Al Sharpton made a call to action when he said we’ve turned Trayvon Martin’s tragic death from a moment into a movement.
The question now is, how do we stay motivated enough to do what it takes to change the “Stand Your Ground laws,” in this country. There are several answers and here are six:
1. Remember the Moment: Trayvon was within his rights to be where he was. George Zimmerman had the right to follow him. George Zimmerman was armed and not an officer of the law. He started an altercation with unarmed Trayvon and then shot him in his heart.
2. Follow the Money: The Stand Your Ground law is NRA-supported legislation designed to put more guns in the hands of citizens. It is not a fair law and it is not a necessary law. The self-defense laws are much clearer and make more sense.
3. It’s Not as Isolated as We Think: Oscar Grant, another unarmed black male shot and killed by a transit police officer in Oakland, Calif. The movie “Fruitvale Station” is based on his last day of life.
4. It Doesn’t Stop: Jordan Davis, an unarmed teen who was shot and killed at a gas station in Florida for playing his music too loud.
5. It’s Not a Fair Law: In a case where Stand Your Ground could have made sense it backfired. Marissa Anderson was convicted and sentenced to 20 years in prison for firing a warning shot in the air. She was defending herself against an abusive husband.
6. Let’s Not Forget the Past: July 25, 2013 would have been Emmett Till’s 72nd birthday, if he had not been killed at the hands of a mob when he was 14 years old.
Through our vote we have the power to change the Stand Your Ground laws and I can’t stress enough the importance of using that power in the 2014 mid-term elections. Some people are choosing to boycott the state of Florida but what about the other 19 Stand Your Ground states? Will people stop doing business in those places as well?
Let’s consider what a boycott of Florida will do to the people, especially the black and brown working in the service industry. Think about how much money and jobs will be lost before we even get a chance to vote to repeal the law. I realize a boycott can bring about change but they work best when you’re actually boycotting the companies that are inflicting some type of injustice. Disney World, Universal Studios, Sea World have nothing to do with Stand Your Ground, and while, yes, causing the state of Florida to lose millions of dollars will surely get the attention of its legislators, there are still millions of people who support Stand Your Ground. With the help of the NRA and other wealthy supporters a boycott could actually cause a backlash.
The last thing we need is a group of unemployed, frustrated, broke people in a state filled with people with a legal excuse to shoot first and ask questions later.
Boycott if you want to but it won’t change the law and will probably kill more people.
A better way would be to show up like crazy in November 2014, to support any candidate that is NOT supported by the NRA and to donate to their campaigns. Campaigns are won or lost because of money. He who raises the most wins. The NRA will out spend their opponents every time. Right now, there’s no anti NRA lobby because there is no money to be made. WE can change that.
Let’s have a conversation about how we can keep the movement going in the right direction and not lose focus.