#TheResistance Is Real

“#TheResistance” – a Twitter hashtag started in response to the policies of President Donald Trump – is undoubtedly real, and more than just a hashtag.

Since Trump became Commander-in-Chief, his actions against so many segments of the population has caused the nation to become extremely polarized, partisan, divided, & chaotic.

During the 2016 election campaign season, I was usually politically quiet, since this movement against stand your ground laws is a non-partisan grassroots organization. But policies and actions of the Trump administration have intruded on that principle.

As a result, an assortment of movements against various federal policies have emerged, leading to a plethora of hashtags on Twitter. Very few hashtags are as universal as #Resist, which morphs into #TheResistance, and expands to include #FollowBackResistance (#FBR).

What started as a grassroots attack on Twitter against Trump’s tactics has morphed and is now used by many progressive movements which incorporate some form of #Resistance with their own hashtags.

Most twitter accounts in the Resistance regularly host what’s called a “follow back resistance party” (#FBRParty), which is simply a social media call-out for twitter follows, likes, retweets, & replies.

Using the words “I and I CARE…DO YOU? Are you with me?” our very first “#FBRparty”, hosted a couple of months ago, brought about 250 new followers to the @endyourstand account overnight, over 500 since it was first posted, and has gained much-needed exposure for the Movement to Change or Repeal Stand Your Ground laws.

So far this tweet’s been viewed over 13,000 times and received hundreds of likes & retweets, placing it among the Top Tweets for this movement. Become a part of this #Resistance advocating against stand your ground laws and Donald Trump. We’ll follow back. Because #TheResistance is real.

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Due To Tensions In America, Bahamas Gov’t Issues Travel Advisory

After a violent week of shootings by and of police in the U.S., government in the Commonwealth of the Bahamas said it has “taken a note of the recent tensions in some American cities over shootings of young black males by police officers”, and issued an unprecedented advisory to its citizens traveling to the United States, just as the islands began a weekend celebration of their 43rd year of independence from the British.

Bahamas Coat of Arms
Bahamas Coat of Arms

In a press release, the Bahamas Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration said they expect many Bahamians to travel abroad, and warns its citizens traveling to the U.S., but “especially to the affected cities, to exercise appropriate caution generally.”

The statement goes on to say, “In particular, young males are asked to exercise extreme caution in affected cities in their interactions with the police. Do not be confrontational and cooperate.”

The Ministry advises Bahamians, to “not get involved in political or other demonstrations under any circumstances and avoid crowds.”

Protests and marches took place throughout the U.S. in the immediate aftermath of deadly police shootings in Minnesota, Louisiana, and New York of unarmed Black men.

The Bahamas has consular offices in New York, Washington, Miami and Atlanta and honorary consuls in Los Angeles, Denver, Chicago and Houston.

This Bahamian advisory is a bit unprecedented, but there have been warnings in the past from other nations for their citizens to avoid road rage and to watch out for guns in America, or more subtle but obvious safety advisories about air travel, warnings about American rip-offs, or unusual cautions like avoiding U.S. prostitutes, public urination, and nudity.

 

Tweet Of The Month: Republican Presidential Debates

This site is non-partisan but occasionally I’m compelled to throw a little virtual paper hat into the ring. Especially when no one else is shouting for an end to “stand your ground” laws.

While watching the Republican presidential debates on ABC in December, many of us may have had a feeling something was missing. Moms Demand Action made me realize what it was, and a tweet done in haste made quite an impression that night, earning it the spot as the final “tweet of the month” for 2015:

There are quite a few more opportunities to catch the candidates from both parties expound on their platforms, and we must remind them that domestic gun violence among Americans is just as much a threat as domestic or international terrorism. Here’s a schedule of debates coming up in 2016:

Republican debates

Thursday, January 14, 2016
Fox Business Republican Debate
Aired On: Fox Business Network
Location: North Charleston Coliseum in North Charleston, S.C.
Sponsors: Fox Business Network
Moderators: To be announced

Thursday, January 28, 2016
Fox News Republican Debate
Aired On: Fox News Channel
Location: Iowa Events Center in Des Moines, IA.
Sponsors: Fox News
Moderators: Bret Baier, Megyn Kelly, Chris Wallace

Saturday, February 6, 2016
ABC News/IJReview Republican Debate
Aired On: ABC
Location: Saint Anselm College in Manchester, N.H.
Sponsors: ABC News, IJReview.com, WMUR
Moderators: David Muir, Martha Raddatz

Saturday, February 13, 2016
CBS News Republican Debate
Aired On: CBS
Location: The Peace Center in Greenville, S.C.
Sponsors: CBS News
Moderator: John Dickerson

Friday, February 26, 2016
Republican Debate
Aired On: undetermined
Location: University of Houston in Houston, TX.
Sponsors: National Review

March, 2016
Republican Primary Debate
Aired On: Fox News Channel
Location: To be determined
Sponsors: Fox News

Thursday, March 10, 2016
Republican Primary Debate
Aired On: CNN
Location: Florida
Sponsors: CNN, Salem Media Group

Democratic debates

Sunday, January 17, 2016
NBC News Democratic Primary Debate
Aired On: NBC
Location: Charleston, S.C.
Sponsors: NBC, Congressional Black Caucus Institute
Moderator: Lester Holt

Thursday, February 11, 2016
PBS Democratic Primary Debate
Location: Wisconsin
Sponsors: PBS

Wednesday, March 9, 2016
Univision Democratic Primary Debate
Location: Miami Dade College in Miami, FL.
Sponsors: Univision, The Washington Post

 

Stand Your Ground and Jeb’s Missed Opportunity

The Souls of Half Black Folk

Last month, Time Magazine wrote an article titled #BlackLivesMatter Is Winning The Democratic Primary, an ode to the hard work and resilience shown by grassroots activists combating the criminalization and stigmatization of Black Communities around the country. Last week, Presidential Candidate, Jeb Bush took the stage in front of the National Urban League in his home state of Florida with the opportunity to convey the message to people across the country that he and his fellow Republicans take the Movement for Black Lives seriously and are committed to polices that will truly help all Americans. However, he missed a tremendous opportunity to talk about a law that has disproportionately plagued the Black population his state, the Stand Your Ground law.

 Stand Your Ground effectively allows citizens to defend themselves, even outside of their own homes with deadly force if they deem necessary. Florida enacted the law in 2005…

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Rally To End Stand Your Ground In Georgia

Moral Monday Georgia is staging a rally against stand your ground law in Georgia at the state capitol in Atlanta at 4:00 p.m. tomorrow – Monday, February 3, to gain support against SB 280, a bill to repeal Georgia’s stand your ground law.

Georgia rally against stand your ground law

Moral Monday Georgia is a grassroots social justice group modeled after protest groups in North Carolina. Moral Monday protests are characterized by engaging in civil disobedience by entering the state legislature building and then being peacefully arrested. The protests are generally partisan against Republican actions.

Senator Vincent Fort (D-Atlanta) and nine other people were arrested last Monday inside Georgia Governor Nathan Deal’s office and charged with obstruction and criminal trespassing while protesting the governor’s opposition to expansion of Medicaid programs for the poor.

The rally tomorrow precedes a hearing on Wednesday, February 5, in the Georgia House on a bill introduced by Senator Fort to repeal the Georgia stand your ground law.

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Georgia Senator Hopes To End Stand Your Ground

[UPDATE: This hearing was postponed due to weather conditions in Atlanta, and will now be held at 3:00 p.m. EST on Wednesday, February 5, 2014]

Georgia will hold a hearing before the state’s Senate Judiciary Committee on a bill to repeal the state’s stand your ground law on Wednesday, January 29, and advocates are calling on supporters to “pack the house”.nd stand your ground in Georgia

The bill, SB 280, introduced by Senator Vincent Fort (D-Atlanta), seeks to repeal the statute relating to “no duty to retreat” in Georgia’s self-defense laws. The hearing will take place at 3:00 p.m. (EST) in Room 307 of the Coverdell Legislative Office Building, located at 18 Capitol Square in Atlanta.

Georgia Senator Vincent Fort (D-Atlanta)
Georgia Senator Vincent Fort (D-Atlanta)

Senator Fort said in a statement that he is calling for “a full and fair hearing” on SB 280, something he claims was not done with a related bill last session. He said this bill, “seeks to end the morally wrong practice of allowing individuals to shoot first and ask questions later, a startling fact that is simply unacceptable for the citizens of this state.”

Advocates are calling on supporters to rally behind the bill and pack the house for this hearing. A facebook page promoting this event has details on parking and directions. Fort hosted a Georgia town hall meeting in December that was well-attended.

Georgia has been rocked by several incidents which may involve the state’s controversial law. One incident last year was on Veteran’s Day in Catoosa County, when a 17 year-old was shot and killed by a homeowner during a burglary.

Georgia stand your ground vicitim Ronald Westbrook
Ronald Westbrook

Notably and most recently, in November, 72 year-old Ronald Westbrook, who suffered from advanced Alzheimer’s disease, was killed after ringing the doorbell and turning a doorknob at a home in Walker County.

In November, Jesse Jackson and his Rainbow Coalition filed a lawsuit against Georgia challenging the state’s stand your ground law, as a result of two cases.

In one case, James Christopher Johnson III, a 25 year-old African-American, was killed at a nightclub in March of last year after an argument with a white man who was harassing his girlfriend. His killer later claimed stand your ground and was acquitted.

In another case, Herman Smith, Jr., 21, an African-American, was sentenced to life last year for killing a man at a birthday party in November, 2012.

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Major Stand Your Ground Law News Of 2013

2013 was the year stand your ground law became a major hot-button issue. After the George Zimmerman trial for the shooting of Trayvon Martin, civil rights groups, activists, elected officials, and news media outlets across America began calling for a repeal or changes in Florida’s stand your ground laws, causing several major events:

           1. George Zimmerman Trial

George Zimmerman and trayvon Martin
George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin

Until the shooting of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman, few people had ever even heard of a stand your ground law. While Zimmerman never claimed stand your ground immunity, language from Florida’s notorious statute was used in the jury instructions, and news that he was acquitted resulted in a public perception that stand your ground played a role in the outcome. 

          2. Dream Defenders Sit-In

dream defenders at Florida capitol sit-in
Dream Defenders at Florida capitol sit-in (photo: twitter/dreamdefenders))

After the Zimmerman trial, a group of Florida college students got together to form a coalition that quickly gained support and built momentum against stand your ground law in Florida. The Dream Defenders became unofficial leaders of a movement to change or repeal the law in Florida, pushing for lawmakers to hold a hearing.

          3. Marissa Alexander

Marissa Alexander
Marissa Alexander

A Florida woman who fired a warning shot toward an abusive husband became major news after the Zimmerman trial, and a symbol of women’s rights against domestic violence and everything that’s wrong with the state’s justice system when she was denied stand your ground immunity, then subsequently sentenced to a mandatory 20 years in prison.

A judge later granted her a new trial based on faulty jury instructions, and she is free on bond pending the new trial. The case helped force the state to make changes to the law regarding warning shots, at a Florida Senate hearing held preceding the state’s stand your ground hearing.

          4. US Senate Hearing

US_Senate_Seal
US_Senate_Seal

For the first time, the federal government held a hearing on stand your ground laws in America. The U.S. Senate hearing, originally scheduled for September 17 in Washington, D.C., was postponed due to news of a mass shooting the day before at a nearby Navy Yard. The majority of a nine-member panel testified against the laws.

          5. Florida Rejects Repeal

Tallahassee_Old_and_New_Capitols
old and new Florida Capitols (Wikimedia Commons photo by Infrogmation)

Florida finally held a much-anticipated hearing on a bill to repeal stand your ground law, and as also anticipated – (especially since the chairman of the committee had said he wouldn’t change “one damn comma” of the law) – the repeal was rejected. Other efforts are underway to change stand your ground law in Florida, where it all started.

The Zimmerman trial, other incidents, and legislative actions in city halls and state capitols since that trial have ensured that until major concessions take place to close loopholes existing within stand your ground laws,  they will continue to be controversial.

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