The George Zimmerman trial highlighted the legal and moral complexity of Florida’s “stand your ground” laws. Stevie Wonder, for one, thinks it’s time to fight back against them.
The legendary singer-songwriter told a Quebec City, Canada, crowd on Sunday that he would boycott Florida on future tours, along with any other state that has passed similar “stand your ground” legislation.
“I decided today that until the ‘stand your ground’ law is abolished in Florida, I will never perform there again,” Wonder said. “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.”
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Wonder is known for his music’s deeply felt messages of love and community, so it’s striking to hear him so angry. But his remarks to Sunday’s crowd drew a connection between civil rights-era activism and the unfinished business of the movement today.
“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.”
If he follows through and boycotts all “stand your ground” states, he will have made his touring life significantly more difficult: At least 20 other states have passed similar legislation.