Boycott Florida


Boycott Florida

( 4UMF NEWS ) Boycott Florida:

*** Editorial ***

A week and some days have gone by since the not guilty verdict in the George Zimmerman trial. Disgusted with the outcome and the lack of justice for unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin, who was just walking home from the corner store, hundreds of thousands of people across the country have public shown their dissatisfaction with the system. Borrowing a page from the Egyptians, protests have popped up all week, from San Bernardino, CA to the country’s capital. The marches began shortly after the verdict was handed down and they haven’t stopped since. In fact, they’ve picked up steam and gotten bigger.

Over the weekend, rallies for Trayvon Martin were organized in over 100 cities. Adding some star power to the cries for justice, hip-hop couple Jay Z and Beyonce joined the teen’s mother Sybrina Fulton and Rev. Al Sharpton at the rally held in New York City. Tracy Martin, Trayvon’s father, addressed the crowd protesting in Miami. Martin Luther King III and Dr. Bernice King, children of the civil rights leader, joined protestors on the steps of a federal building in Atlanta.

More than 60 years ago, their father Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and other civil rights leaders organized marches for equal rights. As we carry on in their footsteps in the quest for justice for Trayvon Martin, let’s utilize another tactic from Dr. King’s era to protest. Our voices have been heard, our signs have been read. But change will not come unless there are more actions to back them up.

Shortly after the not guilty verdict, legendary singer Stevie Wonder announced he will not set foot in the state of Florida ever again until the “Stand Your Ground” law is repealed. Although he is just one man, can you imagine the effect we’d have on the state’s economy if more people joined in on that boycott?

Collectively as one we can send a message to Florida, its governor Rick Scott and the other politicians that call the sunshine state home. Trayvon Martin was just a child who had every right to be in that gated community of Sanford, Florida. He was racially profiled because of his skin color and gunned down in cold blood while he fought for his life. His killer was protected by the law when it should have been the other way around. Any law that gives a citizen carte blanche to be Bull Connor reincarnate should be wiped off of the books. 22 other states have a law similar to Florida’s “Stand Your Ground.”

One way to hit ‘em where it hurts is in the wallet. Florida’s tourism brings in up to $40 billion a year, making it the state’s greatest source of revenue. What if the trains, planes and automobiles headed to Florida for a vacation were empty? Just think of the effect we’ have on the economy if we all decided to find another vacation spot. Let’s leave the shores and clubs of South Beach Miami empty. Let’s have short lines for the rides at Disney World and Universal Orlando Resort because we’ve had enough. The beaches of Fort Lauderdale should be vacant. The only thing visiting the alligators at the Everglades should be the mosquitoes.

Miami is one of the major hubs for cruise ships to sail in and out of. Already feeling the blow from a series of public relations disasters in the past 12 months, cruise ships have seen their revenues dip. What if their profits stayed in the red because we’re too fed up with Florida and refuse to board a ship in that state?

How about taking things one step further? We won’t be setting foot in Florida for vacation but we can still do more. How about we boycott major companies with headquarters in Florida? Darden Restaurants, which owns The Cheesecake Factory, Applebee’s and Ruby Tuesdays, is headquartered in Orlando. Go to Staples for all of your office needs instead of Office Max. Find another grocery store to buy your produce from and avoid Publix Super Markets and Winn-Dixie Stores. Those companies are all based in the sunshine state.

Those living in Florida can do their part even if they still remain in the state. Yes, the Miami Heat won back-to-back championships and it’s an exciting time with that franchise because of LeBron James and Dwayne Wade but stay away from their home games. Don’t go see the Orlando Magic or the Miami Dolphins or the Tampa Bay Buccaneers or the Jacksonville Jaguars or the Miami Marlins or the Florida Panthers or the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Protests come and go. When the crowds clear and the bullhorns go silent, the damage we cause by choosing where we spend our dollars will prove how truly fed up we are with the system.

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