black senator breaks the internet with gun safety speech
By Erin White
March 11, 2019
Arkansas Senator Stephanie Flowers is earning all the praise for her impassioned speech during a recent committee meeting. The only Black person on the eight-member committee, Flowers confronted her colleagues on their obsession with guns and disregard for the safety of people who are disproportionately the victims of gun violence. Like her Black son.
The argument broke out during a debate over the merits of the “Stand Your Ground” law, which argued that civilians have the right to use firearms when they feel threatened.
“It doesn’t take much to look on the local news every night and see how many Black kids, Black boys, Black men are being killed with these ‘Stand Your Ground’ defenses that these people raise, then they get off,” she said. “So I take issue with that. I’m the only person here of color, OK? I am a mother, too. And I have a son. And I care as much for my son as y’all care for y’alls. But, my son doesn’t walk the same path as yours do, so this debate deserves more time.”
Her defiance is startling and the worlds she speaks are informed by a lifetime of fear, a seemingly unsmotable gun lobby, and a sea of white faces telling her to be quiet. “For a long time since I’ve been back here in Arkansas, I have feared for my son’s life.” An experience her white colleagues do not understand.
She pointed to the craziness of letting armed civilians enter the courthouse and how these “bullies” made her uncomfortable. Does that give her the right to “stand her ground”?
Throughout her honest and brave plea, though, the Senator was stopped a handful of times by Arkansas Senator Alan Clark, a Republican, who insisted Flowers needed to be silenced.
“Senator, you need to stop,” Clark said.
“No, I don’t!” Flowers replied.
“Yes you do,” Clark shot back.
“No, I don’t!” Flowers said. “What the hell you gonna do? Shoot me?”
In the end, the pro-gun measure failed once again as it has for the last ten years while Senator Flowers was outside smoking a cigarette. Watch the powerful exchange, below:
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