Stevie Wonder boycotts states with Stand Your Ground laws
During a performance in Quebec City, Stevie Wonder announced to his fans that he will not perform in Florida until the state’s Stand Your Ground law is abolished. The singer went on to vow a boycott of any other states with Stand Your Ground laws.
The announcement, which was met with cheers and applause from his fans, came on the heels of a “not guilty” verdict Saturday night in the trial of George Zimmerman, who was facing murder and manslaughter charges in the shooting death of Florida teen Trayvon Martin. Florida’s controversial Stand Your Ground law allows a person to use deadly force in the event they feel they life is at risk. There are 22 states with Stand Your Ground laws. It was at the center of debate in the months leading up to Zimmerman’s trial as he insisted he acted in self-defense.
The verdict caused a backlash of outrage across the country and many people took to the streets in protest, including thousands who crowded into Times Square over the weekend.
“The truth is that for those of you who’ve lost in the battle for justice, wherever that fits in any part of the world, we can’t bring them back,” Wonder said to his audience Sunday. “What we can do is we can let our voices be heard. And we can vote in our various countries throughout the world for change and equality for everybody. That’s what I know we can do.”
In a controversial move, the U.S. Justice Department announced that it will continue to look into case to determine whether there are grounds for federal charges. Those who disagree with the verdict have been vocal about demanding President Barack Obama intervene. After the verdict, he called for calm and an end to gun violence.
“We are a nation of laws and a jury has spoken,” Obama said in a statement. “I now ask every American to respect the call for calm reflection from two parents who lost their young son.”