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 ...

Miami-Dade County Commissioner Barbara Jordan says she hopes that a boycott will not be necessary and that change can occur through conversations among members of the State Legislature. But she says a boycott may become the only means to effect change.

“If it appears that the Legislature is ignoring the people and does not care, then we will have no choice but to change their minds by any means necessary until we get a severely modified version of stand your ground. Of course for it to work, there would have be a solid plan and real commitment. But the use of a boycott remains a viable means of changing public sentiment and securing justice for all citizens. Attorney H.T. Smith proved that when he led a successful boycott on Miami Beach businesses after Blacks continued to be ignored and denied access to business opportunities on the Beach. A boycott that is narrowly defined and focused can be effective.”

Are boycotts an effective means of invoking change? Just ask longtime, Miami-based attorney H.T. Smith who led a successful boycott in 1990. According to Smith, he organized a group called Boycott Miami after then-Miami Mayor Xavier Suarez rescinded a city resolution in honor of Nelson Mandela and snubbed the civil rights icon. Smith depicted Miami as the "racist new Selma of the 1990s" and led a three-year, Black-led convention boycott before terms were finally reached. Smith points out that while the Miami Herald in its reports said that officials at the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau estimated that $50M was lost in tourism revenues as a result of the boycott, the final number was closer to the tune of $100M.