When Stevie Wonder told a concert crowd in Canada that he would not play in Florida until the state gets rid of the Stand Your Ground law, he didn’t stop just with Florida:
I know I’m not everybody. I’m just one person. I’m a human being. But for the gift that God has given me, and for whatever I mean, I decided today that until the Stand Your Ground law is abolished in Florida, I will never perform there again.
As a matter of fact, wherever I find that law exists, I will not perform in that state or in that part of the world.
Florida was the first state to pass a Stand Your Ground law, in 2005, but another couple of dozen states have followed with their own versions. The data seem to show that race makes a difference in convictions and acquittals under that law in Florida, and the same appears true in other states (see Urban Institute chart above). The Stand Your Ground starts with Florida. but it reaches much further in Americans’ lives.
Perhaps taking a cue from the Dream Defenders occupying Florida Governor Rick Scott’s office (video) this week, a group blogging at Trayvon Pittsburgh marched into the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvanian, mayor’s office and announced they would stay until the mayor met with them.
Among their demands is that the city off Pittsburgh denounce Pennsylvania’s version of Stand Your Ground. The law differs from Florida’s, in part because Pennsylvania lawmakers didn’t want to repeat the experience of Florida. But the protesters want it gone, just the same. From the few pictures and updates online, it appears that they waited at least late into the night and perhaps all night for the mayor. Late last night, @Ettecetera tweeted the picture below, with a note that they were “writing a resolution in the hallway heat.”
It’s not clear how long they stayed or whether any of them are still there. The nice lady who answers the phone at the Pittsburgh mayor’s office wouldn’t say. The line at the press office just rings into nowhere. Judging from this tweet by Pittsburgh City Paper reporter Chris Potter, I’d say the protesters took their message straight to Mayor Luke Ravenstahl’s house this morning.