Use of economic force
Holden calls for Florida boycott while Sunshine State lawmakers work to reform law
By Xavier Higgs 07/24/2013
Calls to punish Florida economically for the perceived injustice committed in the not guilty verdict rendered in the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin are being considered by the California Legislative Black Caucus.
A possible boycott of Florida over a jury’s decision to exonerate Neighborhood Watch volunteer George Zimmerman in the killing of unarmed Martin was first suggested by Democratic Assemblyman Chris Holden, a caucus member.
A resolution that is expected to be presented to the full Assembly sometime next month would ask civic organizations, individuals and families that may be traveling to Florida, or considering hosting conventions or doing business in Florida, to reconsider.
“This seems to be an effective way for the caucus members to express ourselves and share with the greater community,” said Holden, a former Pasadena City Council member.
Since the verdict, Stevie Wonder, Madonna, Jay Z, Justin Timberlake, Kanye West, the Rolling Stones, R. Kelly, Rihanna, Alicia Keys and Will.I.Am have reportedly vowed to not perform in the Sunshine State.
Meanwhile, Florida lawmakers are focusing on reforming the state’s Justifiable Use of Force statute, which, among other things, allows a person to use deadly force to protect themselves if retreat is not possible.
“We believe that people of the state of Florida want this to be decided right now,” said Perry Thurston, a Democratic member of the Florida House of Representatives.
However, Thurston was not keen on supporting a boycott of his state.
“We understand the outcries for boycotts against the state, but we are not in the position to advocate such actions,” said Thurston, the state House Minority Leader. Thurston said plans to reform the law have received support from 44 Democratic members of the state House.
“Our goal is to bring about change from within,” Thurston said.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott, a Republican, has said he is not inclined to call a special session of the state Legislature, stating a special task force that he appointed to research the controversial law recommended no changes be made. Most Republicans, who dominate the Legislature, also mostly oppose changing the law.
President Obama on Friday called for reconsideration of such laws in the wake of Zimmerman’s acquittal. Holden agrees with the president and Thurston.
“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,” Holden said.