'You Aren't Going To Silence Me': Arkansas' Black Senator Rips Into 'Stand Your Ground' Bill

'You Aren't Going To Silence Me': Arkansas' Black Senator Rips Into 'Stand Your Ground' Bill

State Sen. Stephanie Flowers took charge when the debate on a bill - that allowed people to use lethal force if they feel threatened - was being shut down.

No matter how much people try to forget them or bury them, racial tensions seem to have tightened in recent times in the US. While people are still reeling from the police brutality cases - where the shooters - are being let off without charges, some of the lawmakers are pushing for 'stand your ground' bill. 

One black lawmaker refused to back down when her white male colleagues moved to cut off the debate on a bill - which would let Arkansas residents use lethal force as the first line of self-defense if they felt threatened. 



According to USA Today, Arkansas state Sen. Stephanie Flowers cited the killings of young black kids, black boys and black men who have been shot and killed just because they 'seemed like a threat'.

Her scathing and emotional resistance came against the proposition of 'Stand your ground' bill. She laid out how similar self-defense laws across the US had affected the people of color. 



Three Republican state senators sponsored a measure that would effectively allow gun owners to stand their ground in the face of a perceived threat.

Flowers, who is Black, passionately called out members of the state Senate Judiciary Committee for not acknowledging how “stand your ground” laws would disproportionately affect Black men in their state, including her 27-year-old son’s life. A clip of her plea against the new measure went viral. 



"I'm the only person here of color, OK. I am a mother, too, and I have a son, and I care as much for my son as y'all care for y'alls, but my son doesn't walk the same path as yours does," state Sen. Stephanie Flowers, a Democrat, said Wednesday during debate in the GOP-controlled Judiciary Committee. "So, this debate deserves more time." 

Her comments spread like wildfire on social media on Friday, with many liberals and gun-control advocates applauding her courage and dubbing her a hero. 

"This is crazy! You don't have to worry about your children!" Flowers said during a hearing this week.

"I worry about my son and I worry about other little black boys and girls and people coming into my neighborhood, into my city, saying they have open carry rights." 



'Stand your ground' laws have been a controversial topic for years and have been used as a defense in a number of high-profile homicides.

The laws, which legally allows a person to use force and remain where they are, also make it legal to use deadly force if they believe that they are facing serious harm or death. 

While the police is already using deadly force against black men and killing them, 'stand your ground' would allow normal citizens to also do that and get away with it.



The only black legislator on the state Judiciary Committee, Flowers raised her voice during the debate in a plea to ask the other lawmakers examining the proposition to extend the debate, according to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. 

At one point, Republican state Sen. Alan Clark, who chairs the committee, tried to halt Flowers' emotional speech, telling her in a low voice, "Senator, you need to stop." 

"No, I don't. What the hell are you going to do? Shoot me?" she said. He tried again, saying "Senator..." but Flowers interjected, "Senator, sh-t. Go to hell."  



She added: “You don’t have to worry about your children. … I worry about my son, and I worry about other little black boys and girls. And people coming into my neighborhood, into my city, saying they have open-carry rights walking down in front of my doggone office in front of the courthouse.” 



"For a long time since I've been back here in Arkansas, I have feared for my son's life," she said, according to official video of the meeting.

"Now, he's 27 and he's out of Arkansas, and I thank God he is when you're bringing up crap like this. It offends me. And then to limit the debate, too. This is crazy." 



CNN cited a famous case in their report whenn they said that measures like 'Stand your ground' have come under scrutiny after a July shooting in Florida.

 A sheriff there said "stand your ground" laws prevented him from arresting Michael Drejka, who is white, after he fatally shot Markeis McGlockton, who was black, over a parking spot. The local prosecutor later charged Drejka with manslaughter; Drejka has said he shot McGlockton in self-defense. 



Flowers cited the case of Trayvon Martin, a black unarmed teenager who was shot and killed in Florida in 2012 by neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman.

Zimmerman used Florida's "stand your ground" law as a defense and was found not guilty. The case helped start what would become the Black Lives Matter movement.  



'Stand your ground' laws have been enacted in more than half of states across the U.S.

A 2017 study examining the effects of the law in Florida found a surge in homicides after it went into effect in 2005. For years, experts have said the laws disproportionately affect people of color.  



After Flowers's deeply personal tirade against "stand your ground" propositions, the bill -- which was opposed by state police, the Arkansas Sheriff's Association and Arkansas Moms Demand -- then failed by one vote, though its sponsor hopes to bring it back up Monday, CNN affiliate KARK reported

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