ORLANDO (CBSMiami/AP) – Ever since the not guilty verdict in the trial of George Zimmerman, the ex-neighborhood watch who fatally shot unarmed teen Trayvon Martin, several people, including some big name celebrities, have boycotted Florida. The parents of Martin, however, said Friday that they are taking no stance on the proposed boycott.
Sybrina Fulton, Martin’s mother, said that opponents of the verdict have the right to express themselves, but that she and Tracy Martin, Martin’s father, are neither supporting nor opposing the proposal.
Fulton spoke during a packed news conference at the annual convention of the National Association of Black Journalists.
“They have a right to express themselves,” Fulton said of boycott advocates.
Entertainer Stevie Wonder has vowed not to perform in Florida as long as the state’s “stand your ground” self-defense law remains on the books. Civil rights leader Al Sharpton has suggested that the law’s opponents might boycott Florida orange juice. Other groups want a boycott on the state’s tourist destinations, both multibillion-dollar industries.
Florida’s “stand your ground” law, passed in 2005, removes a person’s duty to retreat if possible in the face of danger. About two dozen other states have adopted similar laws since Florida was the first to do so.
Fulton and Martin’s father, Tracy Martin, said that since last month’s verdict they’ve been advocating for states with “stand your ground” laws to add a “Trayvon Martin amendment.” The amendment would prohibit people from invoking self-defense if they are the initial aggressors in a confrontation. They are encouraging people upset about the verdict to sign a petition in their states asking for the amendment.
A foundation they’ve set up in Martin’s name also is handing out school supplies for children returning to classes. The foundation also will sponsor a hotline for families who have had a loved one die from gun violence so they can talk to each other.
Zimmerman was acquitted last month in Seminole County of second-degree murder in Martin’s death.
Facing death threats, Zimmerman has kept a low profile since the trial. Despite those efforts, he helped a family get out of their car after they were in a one-vehicle accident in Sanford, just days after the verdict. Earlier this week, he was given a warning for speeding in Texas.
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