For Immediate Release
Coalition of Progressive Groups Organizing Series of Protest Events Around the American Legislative Exchange Council’s (ALEC) Meeting
MEDIA AVAIL: Rashad Robinson, Executive Director of ColorOfChange.org, Available to Speak on ALEC During its 40th Annual Convention in Chicago
CHICAGO - This week in Chicago, a coalition of progressive groups from across the country, including ColorOfChange.org, are organizing a series of protest events around the American Legislative Exchange Council’s (ALEC) 40th Annual Meeting, culminating with a rally on Thursday at the Palmer House hotel.
ColorOfChange and partners have been working across the country fighting ALEC's agenda to pass extreme corporate-written “model legislation” in the states, including so-called “Stand Your Ground” laws, also known as “Shoot First” laws, and restrictive Voter ID and other voter suppression bills. Despite ALEC’s recent attempts to publicly disassociate itself from the years it spent working to pass these laws, the group has invited Governor Jeb Bush, who signed Florida’s NRA-written Shoot First law, to keynote the convention.
Rashad Robinson, Executive Director of ColorOfChange, said, “ALEC is the driving force behind Shoot First, which allowed George Zimmerman to walk free despite admitting to shooting and killing an unarmed young man, Trayvon Martin, in Florida. Thanks to
ALEC, 26 states have these laws, and if the elected officials doing ALEC’s bidding don’t wake up and repeal them, we know we’ll see more Trayvons. It’s telling that ALEC has tapped Governor Bush to headline its big anniversary convention at the same time it’s trying to disavow responsibility for its years of work to pass Shoot First laws, as well as the fact that these bills are still being introduced by ALEC legislators around the country.”
Robinson continued, “Florida's Shoot First law shielded Zimmerman from arrest for six weeks after he admitted killing Trayvon, ensured law enforcement failed to conduct a proper homicide investigation, controlled the jury instructions that saw Zimmerman’s acquittal on all criminal charges, and will likely give him immunity from a civil wrongful death suit.”
In a study released today, the Center for Media and Democracy found that 62 restrictive voter ID and Shoot First bills were introduced in statehouses across the country in 2013 despite ALEC's attempt to publicly disassociate itself from the work of its’ "disbanded" Public Safety and Elections Task Force. Five states actually enacted laws to create or tighten voter ID restrictions and two passed Shoot First. Such laws passed while ALEC was publicly admitting to pushing them are still on the books in states across the country, and ALEC has taken no steps to repeal them or otherwise mitigate the real harm
these laws inflict on everyday people and particularly communities of color.
With more than 850,000 members, ColorOfChange.org is the nation’s largest online civil rights organization.