Stand your ground economics vs civil rights

Will the nation boycott Florida in the wake of the Zimmerman verdict?

D. Kevin McNeir | 7/31/2013, 6 a.m.
Tourism is Florida's most lucrative form of generating income. Just consider two recent conventions that brought millions of dollars to ...

Tourism is Florida's most lucrative form of generating income. Just consider two recent conventions that brought millions of dollars to the State: the National Association of Black Journalist [NABJ] and the National Bar Association [NBA]. But in light of the recent George Zimmerman verdict, many members of NABJ, whose convention last year in New Orleans attracted 2,586 registrants, decided to boycott the Orlando meeting.

The Maynard Institute for Journalism Education estimated that NABJ, and therefore Florida, would lose over $1M dollars if it pulled out of the convention. NABJ President Gregory H. Lee, Jr., said that while the group could not call for a boycott because of already signed contracts, many members chose to lose their registration money and remain home. He noted that both registration and attendance were much lower than in prior conventions.

As for the NBA, their national president, John E. Page, says much of the conversation during the convention focused on Florida’s stand your ground laws and the impact that such legislation could have on the State’s economic future.

“It’s imperative that stand your ground be reviewed with an eye towards repealing it fully or at least limiting when it can be used so that it is only valid in certain public areas — bring it closer to the Castle Doctrine so that one can only protect one’s home or one’s car. Governor Scott needs to convene a special session and suspend the law. Allowing people to walk the streets with a concealed weapon, given the law as it now stands, is nothing more than a license to kill. I don’t care what the polls say because we all know that statistics can be used to do whatever we want them to say. It also depends on who’s being polled. Protests are just as valid as polls because if you participate in a protest you are in effect, making a statement. Scott needs to listen to the whispers before they become screams. Tourism is the number one economic engine that supports the State of Florida. Does he really want to tamper with that? Once the nation perceives Florida in a negative light, no polls will be able to reverse that perspective."

Would a boycott be effective today?

Leroy Jones, 41, director of Neighbors and Neighbors Association [NANA] in Liberty City, has been guiding his organization since 1996. He believes that a boycott can be effective “as long as it’s concentrated on the right businesses.”

“Stand your ground is not a good law and most Black business owners want to see it changed or repealed so those businesses should not be the target of a boycott,” he said. “Let’s target the industries that donated to Zimmerman’s defense. Boycotts are still effective in bringing about change as but people need to remain updated on how progress is being made and they have to remain united. No matter how large a company is or how much money they make, they have to answer to their shareholders. Hit them in their pocket and they’ll consider changing their views. Making money is their primary concern and a boycott could dramatically impact their bottom line.”