With calls for a boycott of the state of Florida growing louder, the National Association of Black Journalists faces a dilemma. The organization is set to host its convention in Orlando between July 31 and August 1st. Some groups have asked that the NABJ cancel. If it did that, the group would lose more $1 million, according to the organization’s president Gregory H. Lee Jr.
In an email to members, Lee said that, in anticipation of a verdict, the NABJ had already extended invitations to Trayvon Martin’s family, political commentators, community leaders, and they even plan to extend an invite to Zimmerman. “We as black journalists have a role here; we must examine this story and the ramifications of the tragedy of Trayvon Martin’s death, as well as the ramifications of the verdict in the Zimmerman trial, from all sides. . . ” Journal-isms reports. Roland Martin is the event’s honorary chair and he’ll be leading the “NABJ Live” session on August 1.
Those that haven’t asked the NABJ to cancel entirely concede that it might be too late. But one member asked that attendees spend as little as possible. Another notes that it’s black and minority workers that would be hurt the most by a boycott.
So on the one hand, you have people who want to take a stand and demonstrate to the state that the laws, and consequently this verdict, are unacceptable. On the other hand, this could be an opportunity to voice concerns associated with all the issues that the Trayvon Martin case touches on.
“We would encourage our members to be engaged and take what they have learned during these discussions back to the newsrooms and make a difference there. We will engage with many national leaders to break down the entire case,” Lee told Journal-isms.
Poynter reports on the MoveOn petition that was started to boycott the state’s tourism. “Florida is not a safe place to take your family for vacation as long as Florida law permits a citizen to shoot or kill you for merely looking suspicious, and to do it with impunity. Boycott Florida tourism until this dangerous law is overturned,” the petition page reads. Stevie Wonder has already pledged to boycott the state until the Stand Your Ground law is overturned.