Zimmerman Verdict Leads to Florida Boycott

Photo courtesy of AP.

George Zimmerman has been a “free” man for less than a week and already people across the country are seeking drastic measures to send the message that the jury’s verdict was wrong. A lot of that anger is channeled into protests and rallies, but more recently groups are crying that tourists should boycott the state of Florida.

“Florida is not a safe place to take your family for vacation as long as Florida law permits a citizen to shoot or kill you for merely looking suspicious, and to do it with impunity. Boycott Florida tourism until this dangerous law is overturned,” says boycott organizer Chris Bergman, who launched an online petition this week.

Stevie Wonder is just one of many Black music artists who have taken a stand and shown in some form that what happened to Trayvon is just plain wrong. He performed in Quebec City on Sunday and told the audience, “I decided today that until the Stand Your Ground law is abolished in Florida, I will never perform there again,” reports.

The popular gospel duo, Mary Mary, recently announced on Facebook that they’re standing with Stevie and will no longer perform in the state until the law is changed.

Despite the hurt feelings and disappointment in the jury’s verdict, some still say boycotting is the wrong move.

“Florida has the third-largest black population of any state in the United States,” says Harry Alford, president of the National Black Chamber of Commerce. If a boycott were to happen, 3.4 million black people in Florida would be negatively affected, Alford says in the Huffington Post article.

His solution is to directly target Sanford, which is where Zimmerman shot Trayvon Martin, in what he calls self-defense.

With The National Association of Black Journalists’ annual convention happening nearby in Orlando, President Gregory Lee had a decision to make. For him, the answer is simple. Boycotting is the wrong move.

“If we were to do something such as boycott, it would basically bankrupt our organization and it really defeats the purpose and takes away a powerful voice,” he says. “We had to look at the long-term view. Our organization is very vital to our nation, to our community in making sure that our stories are being told. … If there was no National Association of Black Journalists, you wouldn’t have had the Trayvon Martin story out there.”

The organization has added a new panel to the list since the verdict was announced to help address its members’ concerns and questions. “The Verdict: Black Journalists Role In Covering The Trayvon Martin Case,” which will be moderated by Rev. Al Sharpton. The panel will also feature Orlando Sentinel editor Mark Russell and Touré, among others.

JET found some circulating online petitions that are seeking “justice” for Trayvon Martin. You can find them HERE.