Arkansas state Senator Stephanie Flowers gave a fiery, impassioned speech when some of her fellow legislators tried to limit debate on a proposed “stand-your-ground” law for the state. As the only person of color, she argued that her son faced different challenges (like not getting shot) than the kids of the other lawmakers present.
Arkansas has been trying (and failing) to pass a “stand-your-ground” law for ten years, The Grio reports. “Stand-your-ground” laws give civilians the right to use their firearms in situations where they feel threatened, and as we sadly know, some white people tend to feel awfully threatened by non-white people. A study found that states with “stand-your-ground” laws have more gun deaths overall (not hard to see why) and that white people who kill black people in those states are 250 percent more likely to go free.
In a clip from Now This, Senator Flowers, a Democrat, went off on the other senators present, all white, who don’t have to worry about the safety of their kids in the same way. As she explained, her son “doesn’t walk the same path” as their children.
— Ryan Knight 🏳️🌈 (@ProudResister) March 8, 2019
Flowers said, “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. So I take issue with that. I’m the only person here of color, okay? 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 does. So this debate deserves more time!”
At one point, Arkansas Sen. Alan Clark (who, surprise, is Republican) told Flowers that she needed to stop. “No, I don’t,” Flowers yelled back.
“Yes, you do,” Clark said, to which Flowers responded, “No the hell I don’t. What are you going to do, shoot me?” Clark tried to interject, but Flowers cut him off, saying “Go to hell! I’m telling you, this deserves more attention.”
The proposed bill ended up failing, being rejected 4-3 by the Republican-controlled Judiciary Committee.
People were deeply moved by Flowers’ passionate speech, and as the video went viral on Twitter, the responses poured in.
“My son doesn’t walk the same path as yours does.” An unbelievably powerful clip. PLEASE watch. https://t.co/y7cc7buuOl
— Patton Oswalt (@pattonoswalt) March 8, 2019
This was not even scripted. Taken straight from her heart. Some people are just right. She is just right. Everything. She punched shame into those who still can feel it.
— IseeU (@j_carsonlittle) March 8, 2019
And the white male Republicans will say she was being “emotional” or “hysterical” to belittle the validity of her statements. She is defending something very real & horrifying. Yet when I see the white Male GOP “emotional” it’s usually when they’re defending their indiscretions.
— Angie Oravec, COTA (@AngieOravec) March 8, 2019
— Garfield Myrie (@MyrieGarfield) March 8, 2019
nevertheless she persisted
— Reader Adrift (@ReaderAdrift) March 8, 2019
On #IWD2019& every damn day, I'm thankful for Black women elders like State Senator Flowers.
Women who spend their lives standing up for us w/ no regard to personal cost. Who don't get accolades, but put in the work anyway.
None of us would be here without you. Thank you. https://t.co/MDUBpsNSAy
— Jared A. Walker (@JAWalker) March 8, 2019
I’m in tears. We just moved to Arkansas and to know they were trying to pass this bill angers and frightens me. I already feel unsafe and uncomfortable here. I didn’t know she was a Senator but I’m glad she’s here!
— Andrea Roberts (@MadMik2014) March 8, 2019
Wow… we need a million more like her. I have goosebumps.
— Peter Merlin Cane (@PeterMerlinCane) March 8, 2019
In 3:45 State Senator Flowers raised most major gun laws issues;including stand your ground law, open carry, white on black crime, NRA, plus unfair criminal charges in white on black shootings. We need more of her passion, fact based arguments and pure moxie fighting this issue.
— Deb WhitePigeonBloom (@indianwthfether) March 8, 2019
You can watch the whole clip below.
This woman is the definition of fierce.