July 25, 2013
By Xavier Higgs
LAWT Contributing Writer
As thousands around the country protest the not guilty verdict of George Zimmerman, members of the California Legislative Black Caucus (CLBC) are contemplating a boycott of Florida.
A resolution is being drafted that would ask civic organizations, individuals, and families that may be having conventions or thinking of doing business in Florida, to consider another state.
Chris Holden, (D) Pasadena, introduced the idea during a conference call last week. The details of the resolution are being drafted for presentation to the general assembly in August.
“This seems to be an effective way for the caucus to express ourselves and share with the greater community,” says Holden.
Thousands of demonstrators gathered in dozens of cities on Saturday July 20 to commemorate the death of Trayvon Martin and decry the not guilty verdict of George Zimmerman.
Last week First A.M.E Church Pasadena had a “Call to Action” march to demonstrate frustration over the not guilty verdict of the George Zimmerman trial and to demand justice for Trayvon Martin.
Payne Butler, 84, who attended the march and rally, is still in disbelief. “How could they,” says Butler. “I would like to see a retrial.”
Meanwhile 44 Democrats members of the Florida House are asking for a special session to address Florida Statues “Chapter 776 Justifiable Use of Force.”
“We believe that people of the state of Florida want this to be decided right now,” says Florida State Rep. Perry Thurston.
He adds, “We understand the outcries for boycotts against the state but we are not in the position to advocate such actions. Our goal is to bring about change from within.”
Florida Governor Rick Scott is not inclined to call a special session because his task force recommended no changes should be made to the law.
Republicans who dominate the Legislature mostly oppose any change.
The killing of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black teenager shot to death in a confrontation with a neighborhood watch volunteer early last year, has ignited an introspective and widespread national conversation about race and the criminal justice system.
Although Zimmerman did not specifically use a "stand your ground" law defense, the trial has regenerated scrutiny about the statutes.
President Obama on July 19 also called for reconsidering of such laws in the wake of the Martin killing and the acquittal of Zimmerman.
Holden agrees and said there has to be a way to continue the conversation, get people focusing on the “Stand Your Ground Law,” and put pressure on those elected officials who support such laws.
LA County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas has also called for a national boycott of Florida. But no specifics have been given about how such an action would be implemented.
According to Supervisor Ridley-Thomas, “Florida has a robust tourism industry that brought in $71.8 billion and attracted 91.4 million visitors last year.” He adds, “until Florida is free of these dangerous and unproductive laws that allow innocent young men to be shot to death with impunity, it is in our best interest to hold the state’s leadership accountable. We must act with our pocketbook—and that is quite significant.”
Even some of the music industry's biggest acts are boycotting Florida.
Stevie Wonder announced his intended boycott the day after a Florida jury acquitted George Zimmerman of second-degree murder charges.
According to American Urban Network’s April Ryan, other acts are also joining Stevie Wonder in boycotting Florida over the state's controversial "stand your ground" law including Jay Z, Kanye West, as have pop acts like Rod Stewart, Madonna, R. Kelly, Rihanna and Alicia Keys.