In the wake of a jury of six women — reportedly five white and one Hispanic — returning a ‘not guilty’ verdict for George Zimmerman, soul legend Stevie Wonder publicly pledged during a concert Sunday in Quebec City, Canada, not to perform in the state of Florida until its ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws are abolished, reports Complex Magazine.
Though defense attorney Mark O’ Mara decided to go with a self-defense claim rather than a ‘Stand Your Ground’ defense, the jury instructions included language clearly indicative of that law, including that Zimmerman had “no duty to retreat” in the face of an alleged attack by 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.
Martin, who was unarmed, was fatally shot at close range with Zimmerman’s Kel-Tec 9mm handgun, which has since been returned to him.
Wonder, who has been an activist for change throughout his career, was clear that he would not be performing in Florida, nor any other state with ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws.
“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. 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.
“And I know I’m not everybody, I’m just one person. I’m a human being. And for the gift that God has given me, and from whatever I mean, I decided today that until the Stand Your Ground law is abolished in Florida, I will never perform there again. 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.
“Because what I do know is that people know that my heart is of love for everyone. When I say everyone I mean everyone. As I said earlier, you can’t just talk about it, you have to be about it. We can make change by coming together for the spirit of unity. Not in destruction, but in the perpetuation of life itself.”
Wonder canceled a December 6, 2012 performance in Israel for the ‘Friends of the Israel Defense Forces,‘ which raises money for Israeli soldiers and their families.
After fans and critics of Zionism and Israel’s violence against Palestinians petitioned Wonder to pull out of the event, he issued the following statement:
“Given the current and very delicate situation in the Middle East, and with a heart that has always cried out for world unity, I will not be performing at the F.I.D.F. gala,” Mr. Wonder said in a statement to Reuters. “I am and have always been against war, any war, anywhere.”