grammy-award winning singer, humanitarian and worldwide superstar stevie wonder has vowed to never perform in the state of florida until a controversial self-defense law is abolished. the international icon went public following the acquittal of george zimmerman, who shot and killed trayvon martin, an unarmed black teenager, february 26, 2012.
zimmerman is a volunteer neighborhood night watchman. on saturday he was found not guilty of murder and manslaughter charges by an all-female (five white, one latina) jury in sanford, florida. he claims he shot martin in self-defense. his defense lawyer mark o'mara said race was not a factor in the confrontation and if zimmerman were black he never would have been arrested. zimmerman is latino and white.
although the state's "stand your ground" law was not used in this trial, the polarizing law has come under civil, legal and media scrutiny. the law establishes law-abiding residents and visitors may legally presume the threat of bodily harm or death from anyone who breaks into a residence or occupied vehicle and may use defensive force, including deadly force, against the intruder.
additionally, the law states, in any other place where a person "has a right to be," that person has "no duty to retreat," if attacked and may "meet force with force, including deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another to prevent the commission of a forcible felony."
wonder announced he'll boycott florida and the 22 other u.s. states carrying similar laws, until those laws are overturned. speaking to fans at a show in quebec city on sunday, the legendary singer said, "i decided today that until the stand your ground law is abolished in florida, i will never perform there again. as a matter of fact, wherever i find that law exists, i will not perform in that state or in that part of the world."
wonder continued, "the truth is that for those of you who've lost loved ones in the battle for justice, we can't bring them back. what we can do is we can let our voices be heard. and we can vote in our various countries throughout the world for change and equality for everybody. that's what i know we can do."
zimmerman's acquittal sparked mass protests across the u.s. some artists publicly spoke out against the verdict. they include beyonce, her sister solange knowles, chris brown, miley cyrus, rihanna and russell simmons. veteran soul singer lester chambers was hospitalized on saturday after he was attacked by a woman at the hayward russell city blues festival in california for dedicating a song to martin.
- mark j. tuggle
- harlem, usa
- same-gender-loving contemporary descendant of enslaved africans. community activist, feminist, health educator, independent filmmaker, mentor, playwright, poet & spiritual being. featured at, in & on africana.com, afrikan poetry theatre, angel herald, bejata dot com, bet tonight with tavis smiley, blacklight online, black noir, brooklyn moon cafe, gmhc's barbershop, klmo-fm, lgbt community services center, longmoor productions, nuyorican poets cafe, our corner, poz, pulse, rolling out new york, rush arts gallery, saint veronica's church, schomburg center for research in black culture, sexplorations, the citizen, the new york times, the soundz bar, the trenton times, the village voice, upn news, uzuri, venus, vibe, wbai-fm, wnyc-fm & wqht-fm. volunteered with adodi, bailey house, inc., black men's xchange-new york, colorofchange.org, drug policy alliance, east harlem tutorial program, imagenation film & music festival, presente.org, save darfur coalition, the enough project, the osborne association, the sledge group & your black world. worked on films with maurice jamal & heather murphy. writing student of phil bertelsen & ed bullins. firstname.lastname@example.org.