Arkansas State Sen. Stephanie Flowers has officially become my spirit human after an impassioned speech during a debate over the state’s “stand your ground” law.
Flowers, A Democrat from Pine Bluff and the lone black face on the state’s eight-member committee, wanted more time to debate the merits of “stand your ground law,” which argues that civilians have the rights to use their firearms when they feel threatened because it disproportionately targets people of color.
“It doesn’t take much to look on the local news every night and see how many black kids, black boys, black men are being killed with these ‘stand your ground’ defenses that these people raise, then they get off,” she said. “So I take issue with that. I’m the only person here of color, OK? I am a mother, too. And I have a son. And I care as much for my son as y’all care for y’alls. But, my son doesn’t walk the same path as yours do, so this debate deserves more time.”
She added: “For a long time since I’ve been back here in Arkansas, I have feared for my son’s life.”
Flowers noted that someone named Will (I’m assuming he’s a white man that makes up one of the eight on the committee) doesn’t have to worry about his children the way that she worries about her son and the way that she worries about other little black boys and girls.
She also pointed to gun rights enthusiasts who openly carry guns in front of the Arkansas courthouse and how uncomfortable that makes her feel because she doesn’t know if any of these people are crazy. She called them bullies.
At one point, Arkansas Sen. Alan Clark, a Republican from Lonsdale, Ark., who must’ve never had a “What you aren’t going to do” experience in his life, learned Wednesday that what he’s not going to do is try and tell Sen. Flowers that she needs to stop.
Oh, but he tried it.
“Senator, you need to stop,” Clark said.
“No, I don’t!” Flowers replied.
“Yes you do,” Clark shot back.
“No, I don’t!” Flowers said. “What the hell you gonna do? Shoot me?”
It is at this point that a single tear fell from my right eye. I didn’t even know that I was on the verge of tears but Sen. Flowers bullied it out of me. Maybe it was her passion or her willingness to speak up for those whose voices are usually silenced. Maybe it was just her full-on gangster, “I don’t give a fuck about anybody in this room” attitude. Or, maybe it was because any black man that has been raised by a strong black woman has seen this happen before. My mom acted like this for me all the time. It was indignant and embarrassing to me as a child, but it became the quality of my mom that I wished I had once I got older.
Flowers wasn’t talking as a legislator, she was talking as a mom; a black mom. She would leave the meeting to smoke a cigarette and, in the end, the measure failed as it has failed for the last 10 years.
Watch the gloriousness below, and in the words of rapper Tupac: Arkansas State Sen. Stephanie Flowers, you are appreciated.