When Trayvon Martin’s life was taken by an overzealous vigilante in 2012, Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law was thrown into the national spotlight. Now, that same law is making headlines in Arkansas. On Wednesday, during an Arkansas Senate Judiciary Committee meeting, the only elected Black senator made her feelings known about the controversial measure.Stand Your Ground, which allows a person to claim self-defense if they kill someone because of a threat or perceived threat, has been responsible for a number of deaths of Black men. As reported by KATV Little Rock, Senate committee members in Arkansas proposed a bill that would no longer require Arkansans to retreat before defending themselves with deadly force, as the current self-defense law requires. Sen. Stephanie Flowers, who represents the city of Pine Bluff, laid it out to the committee, what exactly that means for families like hers.
“It doesn’t take much to look on the local news every night and see how many Black kids, Black boys, Black men are being killed with these ‘Stand Your Ground’ defenses that people raise … So I take issue with that,” Flowers remarked. “I’m the only person here of color. I’m a mother, too. And I have a son. And I care as much for my son as y’all care for y’all’s. But my son doesn’t walk the same path as yours does. So this debate deserves more time.”Flowers argued that the committee’s hastiness to vote on the measure was irresponsible, and challenged her colleagues to open the discussion up to more feedback from the public. When another committee member tried to challenge her, Flowers passion for the subject became even more evident.
This hurts to watch. I see and feel her pain, her outrage, her fear so deeply. She is giving voice to something deeply rooted in us as black women, as sisters, daughters, mothers, lovers of black men - and of ourselves. Listen to her. Listen to us. #IWD19https://t.co/BCrwzqaqmS
“What the hell you going to do? Shoot me?” Flowers quipped, before continuing, “I’m talking about my son’s life! And I’m talking about the lives of other Black kids!”Flowers’ walked out of the meeting in anger before the vote. The Senate Judiciary Committee ultimately voted down the bill (4 to 3) that would have loosened regulations for the use of deadly force in self-defense.