By Jueseppi B.
Change for Trayvon: Stand Your Ground laws must be reviewed
Last year, our son Trayvon Martin was stalked, chased down and killed by George Zimmerman, and Zimmerman faced no punishment whatsoever. That’s in large part because Florida is one of at least 21 states with some form of ‘Stand Your Ground’ law, which enables people like George Zimmerman to claim self-defense.
We’re calling on 21 governors whose states have some form of ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws to review those laws and amend them so that people who instigate conflicts — people like George Zimmerman — won’t be able to use these laws to get away with murder.
‘Stand Your Ground’ was never meant to give aggressors the opportunity to get away with murder, but that is what happened when our son, Trayvon Benjamin Martin was killed. After Trayvon’s death, law enforcement used the law as an excuse to refuse to arrest George Zimmerman. Even worse, the jury in the case was instructed to think of what Zimmerman did as self-defense, even though Zimmerman ignored instructions from the police and instigated conflict with our son, who was just trying to get home to his father.
We are shocked and heartbroken by the jury’s decision to allow our son’s killer to go free. Despite our despair, we must honor Trayvon’s legacy by doing all that we can to protect other young people from being targeted, pursued, and senselessly murdered.
We are not the only ones calling for ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws to be reviewed. President Obama spoke out on the need for review, and prominent Republicans like Senator John McCain have joined him. This is not a Democrat or Republican issue, it’s not ‘black’ or ‘white’ issue, it’s a wrong and right issue. This is a matter of making sure that no other family will ever have to go through what we have been through. No parents should ever have to know what it feels like to watch your child’s killer walk free.
Here in Florida, we are pushing for an amendment to Florida’s ‘Stand Your Ground’ law. Sign our petition to call on all at least 21 governors to review their laws and consider similar amendments so that they can protect children in their states, just as we wish Florida would have protected Trayvon.
We want to say thank you to all of you who have stood up for our son. Because of all of your efforts, Trayvon’s life is celebrated all over the world. Please continue to stand with us as we fight to ensure that his legacy is to leave behind a safer and more peaceful world for all our sons and daughters.
Mike Pence, Governor, Indiana
Phil Bryant, Governor, Mississippi
Steve Bullock, Governor, Montana
Maggie Hassan, Governor, New Hampshire
Rick Scott, Governor, Florida
Robert Bently, Governor, Alabama
Sean Parnell, Governor, Alaska
Jan Brewer, Governor, Arizona
Nathan Deal, Governor, Georgia
Sam Brownback, Governor, Kansas
Steve Beshear, Governor, Kentucky
Bobby Jindal, Governor, Louisiana
Rick Snyder, Governor, Michigan
Brian Sandoval, Governor, Nevada
Pat McCrory, Governor, North Carolina
Mary Fallin, Governor, Oklahoma
Tom Corbet, Governor, Pennsylvania
Nikki Haley, Governor, South Carolina
Bill Haslam, Governor, Tennessee
Rick Perry, Governor, Texas
Gary Herbert, Governor, Utah
Earl Ray Tomblin, Governor, West Virginia
President Obama spoke out on the need for review, and prominent Republicans like Senator John McCain have joined him. Some Stand Your Ground laws have had unintended consequences, like protecting those who are the aggressors in confrontations that end in death.
Even former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, who signed ‘Stand Your Ground’ into law and said regarding the killing of Trayvon Martin that, “‘Stand Your Ground’ means stand your ground. It doesn’t mean chase after somebody who’s turned their back”.
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