Sharpton, president of the National Action Network, will lead a march on March 10 in Tallahassee beginning at 9:30 a.m. from the Civic Center to the Florida State Capitol, where the rally and keynote speech are scheduled to take place.
“Florida was the first state to have [such] a law, signed by Gov. Jeb Bush in 2005, and it spread out to over 20 states,” he said.
“So now we must repeal it in Florida to change it all over the country.”
Additional notable figures will be joining Trayvon Martin’s parents Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Davis and Jordan Davis’ parents Lucia McBath and Ronald Davis, including Ben Crump and Daryl Parks, the Tallahassee attorneys who represent Trayvon’s family. The family of Emmett Till will also be in attendance.
Emmett, a 14-year-old Chicagoan, was killed in Money, Mississippi in 1955 by local white men for allegedly whistling at a white woman. The killing helped to launch and publicize the civil rights movement.
Seventeen-year-old Trayvon was shot and killed on Feb. 26, 2012 by George Zimmerman, who claimed self-defense at his murder trial and was acquitted last July. Jordan, also 17-years-old, was shot and killed on Nov. 23, 2012 by Michael Dunn, who fired 10 rounds into an SUV carrying four teens following an argument over loud rap music. A jury convicted Dunn–who also claimed self-defense–on attempted-murder charges, but deadlocked on a first-degree murder charge, resulting in a mistrial on that count.
Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law permits individuals the right to use deadly force in self-defense without any requirement to retreat from or avoid a dangerous situation.
Recent headlines about the contentious law involve Marissa Alexander, a 33-year-old Black mother who might face 60 years in jail after firing a “warning shot” at her abusive, estranged husband in 2010. Alexander unsuccessfully claimed self-defense, citing Stand Your Ground Laws.
“Incarcerating Marissa Alexander will send a strong message to all survivors that violence against them will be ignored and they instead will be subject to prosecution if they defend their lives,” Free Marissa Now leader Aleta Alston-Toure said in a statement.
Alan B. Williams, a Florida state representative and the chairman of the Florida Conference of Black State Legislators, sponsored a bill in 2013 to abolish the state’s Stand Your Ground law, but the bill was struck down in committee. Gov. Rick Scott has voiced his support for Stand Your Ground and declined to call a special session on the law.
“I think that Monday’s rally will continue to shine the light on the inadequacies and imperfections of the Stand Your Ground law,” Williams told BET.com.
“It will continue to show the nation that, since Florida was the first to enact this law, it should be the first to repeal or repair the law.”
Check out the National Action Network website for more information on the location of the rally and march.