Senator Stephanie Flowers' 'stand your ground' speech is fierce, raw, and sadly necessary.

Arkansas state senator Stephanie Flowers lit up the state legislature in a debate over "stand your ground" laws.

Debates that involve guns tend to bring out people's passions. But when you're a mother of a black son debating a law that statistically makes it less likely for him to see justice if he's killed, your passion may be stronger than most.

State senator Stephanie Flowers shared her feelings in a legislative debate over Arkansas' "stand your ground" laws, taking issue with the bill being rushed through without proper debate.


"I'm the only person here of color," she said. "I am a mother, too. And I care for my son as much 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."

Flowers pointed out that black boys and black men are regularly killed in Pine Bluff, where she lives. "For a long times since I've been back here in Arkansas," she said, her voice rising, "I have feared for my son's life!"

But she was just getting going.

Research shows racial disparities in how stand your ground laws are prosecuted.

For a little background, Arkansas law says that people can use deadly force if they feel threatened and are "unable to retreat with complete safety." A bill to remove that "duty to retreat" provision was on the table. Its passage would mean that a person wouldn't be required to try to get away before using deadly force if they felt threatened.

Despite significant controversy over them, stand your ground laws have been adopted by more than half the states in the U.S. However, research has shown racial disparities in how stand your ground cases are prosecuted. "Stand your ground" shooters are twice as likely to be convicted if a victim is white than if the victim is a person of color.

Flowers did not mince words as she shared her feelings.

As the senator got going, she laid into why open carry laws make stand your ground laws absurd, and vice versa.

"I worry about my son, and I worry about other little black boys and girls! And people coming into my neighborhood, into my city, saying they got open carry rights, walkin' down in front of my doggone office in front of the courthouse! That's a bully! Do I have a right to stand my ground with some crazy ass person walkin' around with a doggone gun? I don't know what the hell he intends to do! But I know I am scared, I feel threatened."

Flowers then pointed out some people in the legislature that carry guns, at which point the committee chairman told her she needed to stop. But Flowers wasn't having it.

"No, I don't!" she said. "What the hell are you gonna do, shoot me?!"

"I'm telling you, this deserves more attention!" she continued. "You wanna come up here with all these NRA bills ... I'm talking about my son's life!"

"Do what the hell you're gonna do! Go ahead! But you can't silence me."

Flowers got her point across. The bill was defeated by the committee 4-3, with one Republican voting with the three Democrats.

Flowers said what so many have wished they could say to lawmakers, and people are loving her for it.

Twitter users have responded to video of Flowers' fiery speech with a virtual standing ovation.

Thank you for speaking truth to power, Senator Flowers.

The senator's full remarks can be seen here. Watch the highlight video shared by Now This below:

Courtesy of Creative Commons
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One day in 2019, Jackson felt a sudden sense of hope for a better living arrangement when she caught wind of the ongoing construction of Veteran's Village in Carson, California — a 51-unit affordable housing development with one, two and three-bedroom apartments and supportive services to residents through a partnership with U.S.VETS.

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Love is what united Marie-Claire and David Archbold, who met while taking a photography class. "We went into the darkroom to see what developed," they joke—and after a decade of marriage, they know firsthand the deep commitment and connection romantic love requires.

All photos courtesy of Marie-Claire and David Archbold

However, their relationship became even sweeter when they adopted James: a little boy with a huge heart.

In the United States alone, there are roughly 122,000 children awaiting adoption according to the latest report from the U.S Department of Health and Human Services. While the goal is always for a child to be parented by and stay with their biological family, that is not always a possibility. This is where adoption offers hope—not only does it create new families, it gives birth parents an avenue through which to see their child flourish when they are not able to parent. For the right families, it's a beautiful thing.

The Archbolds knew early on that adoption was an option for them. David has three daughters from a previous marriage, but knowing their family was not yet complete, the couple embarked on a two-year journey to find their match. When the adoption agency called and told them about James, they were elated. From the moment they met him, the Archbolds knew he was meant to be part of their family. David locked eyes with the brown-eyed baby and they stared at each other in quiet wonder for such a long time that the whole room fell silent. "He still looks at me like that," said David.

The connection was mutual and instantaneous—love at first sight. The Archbolds knew that James was meant to be a part of their family. However, they faced significant challenges requiring an even deeper level of commitment due to James' medical condition.

James was born with congenital hyperinsulinism, a rare condition that causes his body to overproduce insulin, and within 2 months of his birth, he had to have surgery to remove 90% of his pancreas. There was a steep learning curve for the Archbolds, but they were already in love, and knew they were committed to the ongoing care that'd be required of bringing James into their lives. After lots of research and encouragement from James' medical team, they finally brought their son home.

Today, three-year-old James is thriving, filled with infectious joy that bubbles over and touches every person who comes in contact with him. "Part of love is when people recognize that they need to be with each other," said his adoptive grandfather. And because the Archbolds opted for an open adoption, there are even more people to love and support James as he grows.

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