Leading Black Caucus member not ready to call for Florida boycott

A leading member of the Congressional Black Caucus said Sunday she is not prepared to endorse a boycott of Florida over the Trayvon Martin case.

Rep. Donna Edwards (D-Md.) told “Fox News Sunday” she has not examined the idea and the CBC has not formally discussed it yet.

“I haven’t examined that to be quite honest,” she said. “We haven’t even discussed that.”

ADVERTISEMENT
Edwards said that she was worried about the possible economic impact of a boycott on some communities.

Civil rights leader Rev. Jesse Jackson said Thursday that his Rainbow PUSH Coalition would consider boycotting Florida as "a kind of apartheid state" in the aftermath of George Zimmerman being found not-guilty in the killing of Martin, an unarmed black teenager.

"No doubt, the inclination is to boycott Florida, to stop conventions, to isolate Florida as a kind of apartheid state given this whole 'stand your ground' law,” Jackson told CNN. “Homicides against blacks have tripled since this law has been in existence."

Jackson was referring to a state law that allows people to use deadly force in self-defense, even if fleeing confrontation is possible. While Zimmerman did not assert that defense in his trial, the Martin killing brought attention to stand-your-ground laws in numerous states, with President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder calling for them to be reviewed. 

Edwards paised President Obama for speaking out on Friday about his own experiences of being racial profiled. She said her own 24-year-old son and a staff member have had similar experiences. 

“What they say is the president gave them a voice for their experiences,” Edwards said. 

She also urged the White House and lawmakers to focus on economic development and assistance for inner cities to stop killings there.

“We have no inner city agenda in this country,” said Edwards.

She said that she also realizes there are limits to federal civil rights law and that an ongoing Justice Department investigation may not yield new charges against Zimmerman.

Many Democratic lawmakers are pressing the Justice Department to bring federal civil rights charges against Zimmerman.