Political Awareness & Involvement

SA/PAAI - May Week 2022

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Archives  2009 - 2014


Southern Region Social Action Luncheon - Tampa, FL. July 26-29, 2014

Social Action Community Impact Award for Affordable Healthcare

Stand Your Ground Forum

Courtesy of Fox News 13, Memphis, TN 

The 'self defense' law has been in the national spotlight since George Zimmerman used the law as his defense in the shooting of Trayvon Martin in Florida.

Now local groups are trying to educate the public on knowing their rights when it comes to the law.

Attorneys say when it comes to standing your ground, many think it's a blank check to defend themselves using whatever means necessary. That's not always the case, so local attorneys are trying to spread the word about what standing your ground really means.

“It's a matter of being aware and being alive,” Julie Graves said.

It's a law that made national headlines after neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman shot and killed unarmed 17-year old Trayvon Martin and walked free after claiming self-defense.  

But it doesn't always work out that way for everyone.

“You could actually be guilty of an assault, aggravated assault or even murder,” Attorney Cathy Anderson-Kent said.

Anderson-Kent has been a public defender for almost two decades, defending cases using the 'Stand Your Ground' law. She says you have the right to defend yourself, but only if all this applies:

“If you are number 1, in a place where you can lawfully be, number 2, you're not involved in any unlawful activity, and number 3, you reasonably believe you're in immediate danger of some type of force being impacted upon you,” Anderson-Kent said.

Attorneys also say you can only use as much force as an aggressor uses on you.

“In the instance where there's deadly force used, you have to be reasonably sure you're in danger of having serious bodily injury or imminent death,” Anderson-Kent added.

Citizens in Shelby County came out to learn about their rights, and they say it's good info for anyone to know. 

“You need to make sure your young children, your citizens, your children, actually do make sure they understand that law so they can protect themselves and make sure they don't get in compromising positions where things come to them that harm them,” Graves said.

They’re hoping to put more education out there.

“I think our young people of all need to understand what that means to be able to control their behavior, and make sure they understand what the consequences could be if they don't control that behavior,” Graves said.

Only about half the states in the country have a ‘Stand Your Ground’ law, Tennessee and Mississippi are among them. Arkansas does not have the law.

Promoted social awareness that would educatethe community, influence full participation and reach the traditionally under-represented groups for Census 2010. The Census occurs once every 10 years but its impact is felt for years as political/legislative boundaries and funding for roads & schools, etc. is established based  on 

the Census count.