Ark. senator's viral speech on racism and gun laws draws praise from Thabiti Anyabwile

Thabiti Anyabwile, Stephanie Flowers
Prominent Washington, D.C. Pastor Thabiti Anyabwile of Anacostia River Church praised Arkansas state Sen. Stephanie Flowers (inset) |

Thabiti Anyabwile praised an Arkansas state senator's passionate speech on racism and gun laws. 

Prominent Washington, D.C. Pastor Thabiti Anyabwile of Anacostia River Church was among many who praised Sen. Stephanie Flowers for rebuking her colleagues in the senate judiciary committee in an impassioned speech when they voted to limit public debate on a proposed “Stand Your Ground” law last Wednesday.

Flowers, who is the only black member of the committee, spoke against the proposal, and refused to curtail her comments due to what she argued is the fear of how gun violence would impact her son as well as members of the black community.

“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, and they get off. So I take issue with that. I'm the only person here of color. I am a mother, too. And I have a son. And I care as much for my son as y'all care for y'all's. But my son doesn't walk the same path as yours does. So this debate deserves more time,” she told her white colleagues.

“I'm in Pine Bluff. We have killings regularly down there. ... I don't know where Mr. Ballinger is from. But I can tell you for a long time since I've been back here in Arkansas, I have feared for my son's life. Now he's 27 and he's out of Arkansas, and I thank God he is when you're bringing up crap like this. It offends me. And then to limit the debate, too? This is crazy,” she said addressing Two Republican Sen. Bob Ballinger.

A dramatic clip of Flowers’ extended comments on the issue has since gone viral on social media, racking up more than 10 million views along with praise.

Reacting to the video in a series of tweets last Friday, Anyabwile said Flowers’ speech captured how many African Americans feel about gun laws.

“This [Arkansas] state senator speaks with a lot of raw passion. She captures the angst of many. She's (a) generally scared for her son; (b) threatened by violence in her community; (c) threatened by gun carriers; (d) trying to be heard vs senate rules that silence,” Anyabwile began.

“Think what you will about gun laws. What I'm trying to point out is the incredible helplessness and chronic sense of threat and dread so typical to our people and communities. It comes from inside and outside the community and there appears to be no allies in the system,” he continued.

“For this senator and many AAs, the issue isn't intellectual. It's existential. If you think the senator's display is out of bounds or too intense, I would suggest to you that ‘We Wear the Mask’ and far more people feel this internally than would ever display it publicly,” he ended.

Flowers told the Associated Press Monday that she has received dozens of phone calls and emails from people all over the South who supported her opposition and she had no plans to apologize for her comments.

"They were glad to have and see somebody speak what they could not speak, and to express it the way they could not express it," Flowers said. "So I won't apologize for my expression and my passion and my emotion."

Flowers, who is a Democrat, maintained her stance during remarks in the senate on Monday and revealed she is a follower of Christ who hopes God approved of her opposition to the “Stand Your Ground” bill which failed.

"My outburst and the words I used? God will judge me and I will accept his judgment. I hope he's well pleased,” she said. 

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