As a co-host for Keeping it Real with Rev. Al Sharpton, a nationally syndicated radio show, I have been asked on a few occasions why Sharpton, perhaps the nation’s foremost civil rights activist, is still marching after all these years. Last week, I offered an inquisitive listener a simple, three-word response to his question: Stand Your Ground.

It’s been open season on young black men in America for years and on Monday, Sharpton, radio personality Tom Joyner, Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin, parents of Trayvon Martin, Lucia McBath and Ron Davis, parents of Jordan Davis, and the family of Emmett Till, joined hundreds of African-American demonstrators who rallied in Tallahassee, Florida to protest the state’s Stand Your Ground laws, which has been used unfairly by whites as a defense for shooting young black males.

On Monday, activists rallied outside the Florida State Capitol Building to urge lawmakers to re-evaluate the Stand Your Ground law and repeal the law altogether. Others are asking for changes such as restrictions and training for neighborhood watch volunteers. Stand Your Ground allows people to use of force to defend themselves if they feel threatened and has resulted in two high-profile deaths of 17-year-old teens in Florida over the past two years.

“It’s a flawed law,” Sharpton told demonstrators. “Because you don’t need an actual threat. All you’ve got to do is believe a threat and you can use deadly force.” “Florida is the first state to enact the law in 2005,” Sharpton said. “We came back to where it started to begin where it will end.”

The Florida legislature’s House Criminal Justice Subcommittee rejected a full repeal of the Stand Your Ground law in November and that’s why I believe in marching for justice is still necessary in 2014. Maybe I’m old school, but social justice movements evolve and are driven by the issues of the moment.

Stand Your Ground is the critical issue of the moment. In fact, it’s a crisis facing young black men. I also believe that marches are important for young people of color – our leaders of tomorrow – to embrace social justice movements as catalysts to get involved in community service and political activism.

Last month marked the second anniversary of Trayvon Martin’s senseless death. The unarmed teenager was gunned down by neighborhood watchman/wannabe cop George Zimmerman on February 26, 2012 in Sanford, Florida while walking home from a convenience store.

If anything, the “Stand Your Ground” law has worked to show us that for some whites, black life – and the lives of black males in particular –means absolutely nothing. More recently, Jordan Davis, another unarmed teenager was shot and killed in Jacksonville, Florida, by Michael Dunn, a white engineer, simply because the music playing in the car Davis was riding in too loud.

And let’s not forget Garrick Hopkins, 60, and Carl Hopkins Jr., 61, two brothers from West Virginia who were shot and killed by a white man, Rodney Bruce Black, 62, who thought the Hopkins brothers were trespassing on his land – when in fact, they were inspecting a shed on their own property.

“You have woke us up, and we are never going to sleep!” Sharpton told the crowd.

This is why Sharpton is still marching. And I say, march on Rev, march on.

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23 thoughts on “COMMENTARY: Hundreds March In Florida To End ‘Stand Your Ground’

  1. We need to implement a law to stop black on black too…who’s gonna save us from hurting us? We cry out when white folk strike us on the cheek but when it’s us we dare you to speak out. I’m just saying..flip the coin on the other side.

    • tony Howard on said:

      Alberta…. we do cry out when black youth kill black youth, or anybody else for that matter. They have made rap songs and had rallies ask if not begging that we stop the violence against ourselves. But weve still got to pay attention to how we are systematically being disenfranchised by the system and the tricks being played upon us. Particularly, I need help in exposing those tricks and help getting those victimized by them…freed! Are you willing to help me?

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  3. tony Howard on said:

    Dear Mr. Joyner. In response to a comment that I posted on your website, I received a reply from a person whose user name is: Haneysingh398. They left a message regarding making 60$ an hour using their computer in the home. I didnt see these messages on your website at the time I initiatially posted my response to your Stand Your Ground article. You need to investigate this.

  4. joe Valdez on said:

    Millionaire ACtivist Shapton , Jesse ” The Crook” Jackson , and Tom Joyner are opportunist, they make their money by creating conflict. Why aren’t these folks deal with the Real Problems Black ON Black Crime , 95% of all Black Killings are By Black People , Blacks hatte each others so bad that they are willing to murder 9,300 of their own Black people each year. Are you African American hat stupid that you don’t understand that Zimmerman is not White ? ZIMMERMAN IS NOT A WHITE MAN, HE WAS BORN IN PERU SOUTH AMERICA & HE IS PART SOUTH AMERICAN INDIAN AND BLACK !!!! JUST LIKE OBAMA IS 50% BLACK AND 50% WHITE . YOU GUYS ARE A BUNCH OF RETARDS >

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  6. tony Howard on said:

    Dear Tom Joyner:
    Please bring to the Public’s attention to Florida statutes 921.241 (2), and 944.17(3)(a) and (5). These are 3 important laws being violated daily by judges in Jacksonville Florida and the Florida department of Corrections, respectively. Protesting for the enforcement of the latter 2 is important because thousands of blacks have been unlawfully entered into the Florida prison system, and with regard to the former law, hundreds of thousand have been disenfranchised and denied their civil rights.There’s also a law (27.181 (1) and (2) Fla. Stat) that is being violated by State Attorney Angela B. Corey, and thousands are being unlawfully charged with felony offenses and prosecuted by assistant state attorneys who have absolutely no state authority to do so. This is what we should include in our protests and marches. I can provide you with more details at your request.

  7. David on said:

    So why don’t we train just as hard? Write or black I’m using my conceal carry right to KILL anyone who threatens me or my family. Long live SYG and self defense gun laws. Learn your rights and how to use the weapon and you can’t be touched. Trayvon and the other black youth got what was coming to them for acting like fools. I would have killed them too. Arm and educate black America!

  8. Aaron on said:

    We have been trying to appeal to the moral side of white people for over 400 years and it hasn’t worked yet neither does their legal system. How many more generations will we waste before we realize that we must be a completely self sufficient group of people with our own cities and towns. We can stop complaining and unite our dollars right now. What is stopping us?

    • Kenneth on said:

      I’m not a pacifist, so I don’t agree with the demonstrations. Nor am I a racist.

      I think we need to embrace the Stand Your Ground law.

      I have three references for you to read:

      Google the article, “The Racist Roots of Gun Control” – Those laws were written to deny us a means to defend ourselves, and those so-called black leaders know it. They have been “conditioned” not to defend themselves.

      Read Lance Hill’s book about the Deacons For Defense and Justice…armed self-defense really moved the 1960s Civil Rights movement

      Read Dr. Carter Woodson’s book, “The Mis-education of the Negro. Stop following Al Sharpton and his minions. See how the aforementioned “conditioning” occurred.

  9. Marcus on said:

    I agree. We need to start mass killings and bombings on these white devils. They are not our countrymen they are the enemy.

  10. OK The march has come and gone Sharpton got his picture in the news, across town how many black youths were murdered …by other blacks?

    • Kenneth on said:

      Good point, but that’s a question they don’t want to ask or hear the answer. Zimmerman and Dunn are murderers. But as I tell my young black male students, their worst enemy still looks a lot like them. Where are the demonstrations for those murders?

      BTW, I support Stand Your Ground (SYG) and think it’s time for us to embrace it. SYG became effective on 1 Oct 2005. I do believe white men have been murdering black men and getting away with it much earlier than that…right? Why is all the blame being placed on SYG? Because it’s the pacifist way of dealing with the issue. Read Lance Hill’s book about the Deacons for Defense and Justice. Then you’ll see why we need to embrace this law and make sure black folks are also protected when we have a need for self-defense against certain groups that threaten us.

      BTW, the civil rights movement wasn’t all that “nonviolent” as Dr. King and the others have led us to believe. Read Lance Hill’s book. Many black folks in the south believed in armed self-defense. Ask those in Louisiana.

  11. Deshawn on said:

    We need to take matters to a violent level my brothers. We must kidnap and silence white boys and all the violaters of this law. We will do it publicly and let the white man know we mean business.

    • You are a white supremacist wet dream they train day in day out hope and pray just for blacks to do just that, you think SYG is a license to kill wait tell you give them that as justification

  12. Nathan on said:

    I don’t see Brown black men shooting white teens. What has happened to our youth that they want to hoop and holler like a bunch of Wiley rap gangsters. In my day we respected everyone and didn’t attack people just because they were white. Or attitude has brought this on ourselves. We need to raise our black boys right and teach them respect.

  13. Quiet as kept it was the civil unrest that forced lawmakers hand during the civil rights movement not marching by itself. The FBI was especially worried by nationalist and militant groups as stated in their cointel pro files which all Black people should read .We have to wake up and realize that marching alone is not going to change our reality.

    • Mac Ben on said:

      yeah…”hundreds” in a community of tens of thousands…sad actually. Blech! on marching…it is meaningless and frankly speaking- a working adult (tax payer) does not have time to march!!!!

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