Reporting Shannon Carlin
Stevie Wonder is taking a stand against Stand Your Ground.
At a concert in Quebec City on Sunday (July 14), Wonder announced that he would no longer be performing in Florida until the controversial 2005 law, which says a person may justifiably use force in self-defense if there is reasonable belief that they are being threatened, was “abolished.”
“I decided today that until the Stand Your Ground law is abolished in Florida, I will never perform there again,” Wonder said.
After pausing for applause, Wonder continued: “As a matter of fact, wherever I find that law exists, I will not perform in that state or in that part of the world.” Though Florida was the first state to pass an explicit Stand Your Ground law, more than 30 other states, including Texas, Arizona, Pennsylvania and Illinois, have some version of it on the books.
His announcement came the day after the acquittal of George Zimmerman, who was cleared of all charges, including second-degree murder and manslaughter, in the shooting death of Florida teen Trayvon Martin on February 26, 2012. The Trayvon Martin case brought to the light the regulations of the law and some believe it contributed to Zimmerman’s acquittal.
“I have love for everyone. When I say everyone, I mean everyone,” Wonder told the crowd after making his announcement. “[But] you can’t just talk about it, you have to be about it. We can make change by coming together in the spirit of unity.”
Wonder urged his fans to join him in the fight to end Stand Your Ground.
“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,” he said. “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.”
Since the ruling, other stars have come out to honor the fallen teen.
Hours after the Zimmerman ruling, Beyoncé asked for a moment of silence during a performance in Nashville, Tennessee, before dedicating “I Will Always Love You” to Martin. Her sister, Solange, held a peaceful protest for the 17-year-old in Brooklyn on Sunday (July 14).
Seeing & gathering with people today/tonight all for the same fight helped to restore my faith in humanity… pic.twitter.com/oid0vuBJfU
— solange knowles (@solangeknowles) July 15, 2013
Young Jeezy posted a new song, “It’s A Cold World” as a tribute to Martin, which talks about the repercussions gun violence. On his Facebook page, the rapper let fans know, “I am in no way shape, form, or fashion am trying to capitalize off of the latest series of events. These are my true feelings and my form of expression about it.”
Wyclef Jean also released video for his new track “Justice (If You’re 17)” that follows a teenage boy walking through the streets, talking on his cellphone as another man follows him. The video is eerily close to Martin’s reported final moments.
“If you’re 17 with a hoodie on,” Jean sings. “Watch out for the neighborhood watcher.”
Watch the clip below.