Something is clearly wrong when gun laws like "Stand Your Ground" make it possible for George Zimmerman to avoid arrest. It's even more appalling when a group like the American Legislative Exchange Council (whose board is made up of corporate execs and politicians) actively promote such laws. We teamed up with Republic Report, Color of Change, and the Center for Media and Democracy to write an open letter to the corporate board of ALEC asking them to cut their ties with the Council. Here's the letter:
March 26, 2012 Dear Members of the American Legislative Exchange Council Private Enterprise Board:
In 2005, the American Legislative Exchange Council adopted a model bill that was almost identical to Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law enacted earlier that year. The Florida legislators who introduced that act, Sen. Durell Peaden and Rep. Dennis Baxley, were, like your companies, members of ALEC. That Florida law has allowed George Zimmerman to avoid arrest for killing Trayvon Martin, a 17-year-old boy, and it could make it easier for Zimmerman to avoid prosecution. As you know, Trayvon Martin, who was unarmed, was shot while returning from buying a snack. ALEC has made this bill a priority, and numerous ALEC-affiliated state legislators have pushed it. These laws have been adopted in at least twenty more states. ALEC has long been a central force behind state laws that harm the health and safety of Americans. Last year, it emerged that in 2009 ALEC had endorsed the model for state “Voter ID” laws, which make it harder for low-income people, communities of color, young people, the disabled and elderly, and others to vote, and ALEC legislators have sponsored those bills in numerous states. And now we know that ALEC backed the law that could let Trayvon Martin’s killer walk free, the same law that risks more tragedies in the other states. We call on your companies to stop supporting ALEC’s reckless agenda, which harms the communities in which you do business. On behalf of our organizations and members, we ask that you formally and publicly end your affiliation with, and your financial support for, the American Legislative Exchange Council, out of respect for Trayvon Martin and his family, and in the interest of making our country less violent and more united. Please respond by contacting Suzanne Merkelson of United Republic at 202 / 299-0911, firstname.lastname@example.org, or the above mailing address. If we don’t hear from you soon, we will follow up. Thank you in advance for your prompt attention to this matter. Sincerely, Van Jones, co-founder, Rebuild the Dream Rashad Robinson, Executive Director, ColorofChange.org Lisa Graves, Executive Director, Center for Media and Democracy Lee Fang, David Halperin, Zaid Jilani, Suzanne Merkelson, Matt Stoller Editors, Republic Report, a Project of United Republic
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