Akil DuPont is not your average millennium generation wannabe. The 34-year-old Tallahassee native is an award-winning producer/director who has yet to be discovered by the mainstream feature film audience. His next project is compelling: producing “Stand Your Ground“, a short-film drama based on documented facts of the night Trayvon Martin was killed.
Dupont is trying to seed $13,000 of funds through crowdfunding on Indiegogo. The deadline is less than a month away.
Not satisfied with a B.A. in economics from Florida A & M, Dupont went on to graduate from Florida State University’s renowned film school in 2010 as a Master of Fine Arts in motion pictures.
Since then, the world has been opening up to his visions. In 2010, Dupont produced “Underground“, a gripping short about a runaway slave, which has landed over 20 awards from film festivals around the world. He followed that up with “Silhouettes“, a romantic fairy tale about a painter who can only see the world through silhouettes.
“Stand Your Ground” would be shot over 3-4 days in Florida. All contributors to the project get film credits, and contributions of $30 or more also get a signed DVD copy. Watch Dupont tell you about the project himself:
Another reason Ohio doesn’t need a new stand-your-ground law: our canine friends are also in danger from self-defense laws that give humans the right to shoot and claim they “felt threatened”.
In the small town of Pemberville, Ohio, a 64-year-old Vietnam veteran, Christopher Zimmerman (last name sound familiar?), shot and killed an adorable 8-month-old mixed labrador-collie named “Puppy”, happily running to meet its owners – children, who witnessed their beloved pet being gunned down in a driveway that separates their home from the shooter’s. Both homes sit directly across the street from an elementary school.
Zimmerman claimed he felt threatened and reportedly had previously filed a police report stating the pup had “raised its hackles” at him “like it was going to attack”. At that time Zimmerman stated he would “shoot the damn thing” if it came near him again.
The Sentiniel-Tribune reports that this time, Zimmerman reportedly yelled “Get the hell away,” to one of the children trying to catch Puppy, before opening fire from 5 feet away. The police report states that, based on the placement of the bullet wound, “the dog could not have been running towards (Zimmerman) as he had stated”. He was charged with pointing and discharging firearms, injuring animals, and inducing panic.
The children’s’ mom, Misty Smith wrote on her blog, “How do you comfort a sobbing child who can’t understand why anyone would rob her of the puppy she has begged and prayed for, for years?” She later writes that Zimmerman is a veteran, “whose wife has to tell him over and over, ‘the war is over’. He needs help before someone is hurt worse. There has to be something that can be done”.
If Ohio has gun kooks like this on the loose, then enhancing self-defense laws in the state will only make things worse. Can you imagine a Zimmerman case in Ohio?
Since the NRA emphasizes that the Second Amendment right to bear arms belongs to every American, that right also includes every African-American.
It may be healthy to occasionally find some humor in the fight against stand-your-ground, and this clip from FunnyOrDie (featuring Sarah Silverman and David Alan Grier) brings it to us. So, let’s start recruiting (after you stop laughing)!
Marissa Alexander, who turned 33 years old behind bars this month, is getting a belated birthday present, courtesy of the Florida Court of Appeals. The appellate court reversed her conviction, ruling that jury instructions on self-defense were erroneous. But she won’t get another stand-your-ground hearing.
Marissa has served 16 months of a 20 year sentence after being convicted of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon for firing what she described as a warning shot.
At trial, the only real issue was whether she had acted in self-defense when she fired the gun.
In her appeal, Marissa maintained that the trial court abused its discretion, by giving self-defense instructions to the jury that improperly put the burden on her to establish – beyond a reasonable doubt – that Rico Gray, her fiance, was committing or was about to commit an aggravated battery when she fired the gun.
Under Florida’s 10-20-Life statutes, anyone who pulls a gun during the commission of a crime receives a mandatory 10-year sentence. Firing a gun during a crime draws 20 years.
In a stand-your-ground hearing prior to her last trial, Marissa was denied immunity, and the appellate court affirmed that ruling still stands, so she won’t get another hearing.
Her case now goes back to Florida’s 4th Circuit Court, but no trial date was released.
When the Ohio state legislature convenes on Wednesday, October 2, they likely will get an earful. That’s the day opposition to stand-your–ground arrive – from Cincinnati, Dayton, Toledo, Cleveland, Akron, Canton, Youngstown, and all places in between.
Ohio residents have been passionate and making noise over the state’s proposed version of stand-your-ground – HB 203. The bill would change the state’s self-defense laws by expanding the circumstances in which a person has no duty to retreat from a threatening situation before using force in self-defense, and also ease restrictions on permits to carry concealed weapons.
The Ohio Organizing Collaborative, a group of 14 civic, community, clergy, student, and union organizations, has planned a rally at the Ohio Statehouse to deliver over 10,000 signatures and attend the opening legislative session.
The group believes stand-your-ground isn’t about self-defense, but the fear of blacks, that HB203 goes far beyond Ohio’s already reasonable self-defense law, and allows for the shooting of unarmed people. They say the bill promotes violence and has no place in their state.
The rally at the Ohio Statehouse starts at 10AM, and organizers plan to provide transportation for those who need it. For more info, visit the Ohio Organizing Collaborative site.
With Florida as the first target, the monthly nationwide boycott of all SYG states is set to take place again tomorrow – Thursday, September 26, and on October 13th and 26th. You are urged not to plan any visits or vacations to Florida on these dates.
Like the Koch Brothers (think Angel Soft, Brawny, Quilted Northern) companies, many Florida corporations are tied to ALEC. The Boycott Stand Your Ground States website lists Tropicana, Publix Supermarket, Southern Wine & Spirits, Office Depot, Royal Carribean, Carnival, DHL Express, and Nascar among Florida corporations as companies you should avoid.
For more information on this boycott, visit Boycott Stand Your Ground States website.
The Movement To End Stand Your Ground is not the organizer of this boycott, but wholeheartedly encouraging, endorsing, and supporting all SYG boycotts in stand-your-ground states. Related articles
The grieving father said he believes the “victim should have a say, and stand-your-ground does not give the victim a say”. He talks about his son Jordan, the incident, and the accused shooter, Dunn, who he depicted as a bitter “coward”.
Davis, who states he is firmly against the SYG law, said that, like most people, he “didn’t even know about the stand-your-ground statute until Trayvon Martin‘s death”. He emphasized that he is not against guns and lawful gun owners but wants to make sure irresponsible gun owners cannot hide behind stand-your-ground.
The NRA offically defends stand-your-ground laws as a “right to self defense” and states that stand-your-ground “gives back rights that have been eroded or taken away by the judicial system”. These are misleading statements, intended to support their argument for maintaining SYG laws as is.
Gun rights have not eroded or been taken away by the judicial system, and as they are written, stand-your-ground laws in fact expand gun rights traditionally afforded under the Castle Doctrine.
The right to bear arms is instilled in our Constitution, and can never be completely “taken away”. We are a nation that is simply sick of gun violence and many people agree that some type of gun control is needed to keep guns out of the hands of the wrong people. As President Obama recently said, the fight for gun laws “ought to obsess us.”
Yes, Mr. President we should be obsessed, and we are. The NRA is obsessed, too, with insisting we not have any gun control at all. With opposition to stand-your-ground laws growing, the NRA may have a lot more shooting left to do.
A seven member panel of stand-your-ground opponents and proponents debated the law before an audience of 600 guests in Florida a few days ago, in a discussion hosted by the Forum Club of Palm Beach. Top row (l-r): State Atty. Dave Aronberg; Judge Krista Marx; Palm Beach Urban League president Patrick Franklin; Martin County Sheriff William Snyder. Bottom row (l-r): State Sen. David Simmons (R); State Sen.Chris Smith (D); State Representative David Kerner (D).
The panelists were
Republican State Sen. David Simmons who, while in the House of Representatives, was one of the authors of the controversial law, and still supports it;
Democratic State Sen.Chris Smith, the highest ranking black elected official in Florida, who has called for the law to be revisited or repealed
Palm Beach County Circuit Court Judge Krista Marx who was on a special task force which reviewed the law and issued a report supporting the core principles of it. She has said the law is too broad and vague
State Rep. Dave Kerner, a former police officer who has been appointed to a house committee that will review the law this fall. He supports revisiting the law
Palm Beach County State Atty. Dave Aronberg, a former state senator, who supports a review and has blamed judges for expanding the law beyond what it was intended for
Patrick Franklin, president of the Urban League of Palm Beach County. The Urban League has called for review and revision of the law
The general concensus after the discussion was that, at the very least, stand-your-ground laws need some changes. The panel was moderated by WPTV News reporter Michael Williams, who issued the following news report:
Last week, the Sarasota, Florida City Commission approved the city’s Revised Final 2014 Legislative Priorities and voted to request that “the state Legislature repeal the Stand Your Ground statute and establish a more civil approach to governance than afforded under the current statute.”
This is a brave, emboldened step by Sarasota – perhaps the first city to oppose stand-your-ground laws in the first state to enact stand-your-ground.
According to reports, the National Rifle Association (NRA), which led efforts to enact stand-your-ground laws has already “sunk its teeth” into the debate, urging voters to recall the Sarasota commissioners. The NRA likely will put up a fierce fight to keep stand-your-ground, especially in their prized debut state. Yet, municipalities across the nation are lining up in opposition.
Just this week, the Youngstown, Ohio city council followed the lead of Cincinnati, Dayton, South Euclid and Toledo in voting to oppose the state’s proposed HB 203, which would expand the circumstances in which a person has no duty to retreat from a threatening situation before using force in self-defense, and ease restrictions on permits to carry concealed weapons.
America, are you ready? The latest recording artist to emerge onto the music scene is none other than Sybrina Fulton.
Some people may say Sybrina’s got a new hustle, call it cheesy, or say she’s looking for a cash cow, and it certainly may appear distasteful. But Trayvon Martin would probably be proud of his mom for doing something many 17 year-olds may only dream of – releasing a new hip-hop single.
Produced with gospel rap artist T-Dogg, the gospel/hip-hop single called “Joy Comes In The Morning” is surprisingly well-done, but carries an opening intro and a closing epilogue that maybe could have been omitted.
Yet a soothing blend of precision instrumentals, moving lyrics, and crystal-clear vocals which seem to channel Beyonce could almost make one forget that this may be a mother capitalizing on the death of a son.
Tempted by a sample, I liked it so much I bought it, but didn’t care much for the epilogue. That may be because of her use of the word “angel” instead of “my baby” or “my child” to describe Trayvon (since I was no angel myself at 17 years old – but maybe the wings come later).
What do you think? Is the recording a bad idea, or good therapy for her? Is it distasteful, or good gospel?