Arkansas Senator Stephanie Flowers slammed “stand your ground” bill with a powerful speech on gun violence
Last week, Arkansas Senator Stephanie Flowers delivered a blistering, gut-wrenching response to her colleagues who support a “stand your ground” bill. The four-minute viral clip – which features Flowers trying to explain to a roomful of white people just how dangerous this bill is for the black community – will fill you will all kinds of rage and respect.
Three Republican Arkansas senators introduced a measure that would remove the “duty to retreat” from self-defense laws. That effectively means that if a gun owner perceives there’s a threat, they are legally allowed to shoot. Flowers broke down exactly how this measure would impact the black community in Arkansas who, she pointed out, are already incredibly vulnerable to violence in the name of “self-defense.”
“I am the only person here of color. I am a mother, too, and I have a son,” Flowers told her colleagues. “And I care as much for my son as y’all care for y’all’s. But my son doesn’t walk the same path as yours does. So this debate deserves more time.”
She tried to get everyone in the room to understand that their perspective on the issue is limited and that they don’t have to deal with the same fear that the black community does. Worth noting: a study that analyzed FBI data found when a black person is shot by a white person in a “stand your ground” state, it’s found justifiable 17% of the time. When the roles are reversed, it’s found justifiable just over 1% of the time.
“You don’t have to worry about your children. … I worry about my son, and I worry about other little black boys and girls,” the senator said. “And people coming into my neighborhood, into my city, saying they have open-carry rights walking down in front of my doggone office in front of the courthouse.” She added that the rest of the senators “can’t silence [her].”
Then, she continued to stand up for herself when another senator attempted to cut her off. The exchange was…something else.
“Senator, you need to stop,” Sen. Alan Clark said. “No, I don’t,” Flowers responded. “Yes, you do,” Clark said. “No, the hell I don’t. What are you going to do, shoot me?” Flowers asked.
Many people were quick to applaud Flowers for speaking out so powerfully and strongly about such a deeply important issue.
OMG. I want to give this woman, Arkansas State Senator Stéphanie Flowers, the biggest hug. I wish more people were as fired up and passionate as she is about gun violence prevention. She’s not afraid of the @NRA; she’s afraid of more gun deaths. https://t.co/BrGAKRBMEN pic.twitter.com/hmR2UJNjTz
— Khary Penebaker, Fx (@kharyp) March 8, 2019
Whew. Chills. I felt State Senstor Stéphanie Flowers in my soul. She was the ONLY Black person or person of color there. https://t.co/Zi0rxeaU8x
— Reagan Gomez (@ReaganGomez) March 8, 2019
just when you may be feeling blue about the dismal situation of US democracy, here comes an astonishing / courageous individual like Stephanie Flowers, Arkansas State Senator. & you realize that things can't be so bad, if Ms. Flowers exists.
thank you, Senator Flowers! https://t.co/W7QpE4A8Mz
— Joyce Carol Oates (@JoyceCarolOates) March 8, 2019
Thankfully, the measure was defeated, though it may be brought back to the table next week. Here’s hoping lawmakers take notes on Flowers’ courage, fire, and strength to fight for what’s right.