A public-service ad campaign in Florida, which depicts African American children in bulletproof vests, is urging voter participation to encourage the election of candidates who support repeal of the state’s stand-your-ground gun law.
The “Vest or Vote” campaign, pushed by social justice organization The Dream Defenders, includes a billboard in Tallahassee, the state capital, and online ads that will appear on Facebook and Twitter. Dream Defenders said the campaign wants to put the state’s loose gun laws – and their impact on communities of color – front and center.
— The Dream Defenders (@Dreamdefenders) October 14, 2014
“In November, Florida’s voters will be faced with the question first posed by Malcolm X, ‘the ballot or the bullet,’” Ciara Taylor, political director for Dream Defenders, said in a statement reported by Ad Week.“That dichotomy is what this election is ultimately about.”
The billboard mimics a clothing ad such as those one might associate with H&M or Gap, according to The BRPR Group, a Miami advertising agency that worked on the campaign. In the ad, an African American child is shown with arms outstretched, showing off a black bulletproof vest, called in the ad “The Dream Vest.”
The online ad can be seen at The Dream Defenders website. A mother pleads with her son to wear a bulletproof vest, because she needs to know he will be safe when she’s at work. He agrees, and the mother puts the vest on him as if she was helping him into a winter coat.
The ad ends with a statistic in text: “Every 28 hours an African-American is killed by a police officer, security guard or vigilante.”
The message is accompanied by audio from news clips announcing the deaths of young black men in America, including Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri; Oscar Grant in San Francisco; and Florida teenager Trayvon Martin, gunned down in 2012 by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman, who was acquitted of second-degree murder and of manslaughter charges last summer based in part on the state’s stand-your-ground law.
The controversial law, which Florida pioneered before similar legislation spread across the US, allows someone, in a place they are legally allowed to be, to use deadly force if they reasonably believe they face an imminent and immediate threat of serious bodily harm or death.
I’ve got an even better idea! Teach your children not to live the life of a thug, and teach them not to assault the cops and you won’t have to worry about them getting their stupid asses shot! -MD
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