State Sen. Stephanie Flowers had a powerful and emotional response to a white lawmaker trying to silence her in a debate on Arkansas' ‘stand your ground’ gun laws pic.twitter.com/aZ1OQg2mOs
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) March 8, 2019
Millions of people in the last few days have viewed the NowThis News video of Sen. Stephanie Flowers, whose electric comments on race and guns during a committee meeting last week have drawn national attention.
At least 5.3 million have viewed the video on Facebook and another 1.6 million on Twitter; I suspect that the count is significantly higher than that factoring in other versions and platforms (here’s one that shows 6.74 million views).
Her impassioned speeches, which occurred during a debate over a “Stand Your Ground” proposal, have been covered in the Washington Post, USA Today, Newsweek, the Huffington Post, the Chicago Sun Times, and elsewhere.
The “Stand Your Ground” proposal fell 5-3 in committee but is likely to be run again next week, potentially as soon as Monday.
Here’s Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, a Democratic candidate for president:
A fitting way to honor International Women’s Day. Thanks Senator Flowers for showing what strength is all about: GOP lawmaker tried to silence a black senator in a gun law debate. She stood her ground — and won. https://t.co/QsFJOhFlfV
— Amy Klobuchar (@amyklobuchar) March 9, 2019
Arkansans who follow the legislature have long been familiar with Flowers’ fiery rhetoric:
— Justin Gunderman (@JustinGunderman) March 8, 2019
(Full version of the above speech here.)
The Democratic Party of Arkansas offers an overview of Flowers’ life and career, calling her “a stalwart in Democratic politics in the Arkansas Delta”:
She is the daughter of one of Arkansas’s most preeminent Civil Rights heroes, William Harold Flowers. He is widely credited with getting the NAACP Arkansas chapter off the ground and served as legal help in the movement to integrate the University of Arkansas Law School. As a boy he witnessed the aftermath of a lynching in the middle of downtown Little Rock that inspired him (and later his family).
Stephanie Flowers has continued in her family’s footsteps. In this year’s legislative session she’s co-sponsoring bills to rebuild Arkansas’s 911 system, to provide funding to Arkansas’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and to end slavery in Arkansas’s prison system.
The Pine Bluff attorney is well known in her district — and well liked. She was elected to the Arkansas House of Representatives in 2004. She went on to serve three terms before winning election to the state Senate in 2010, where she has served since.
Sen. Flowers represents Senate District 25, which comprises parts of Arkansas, Desha, Jefferson, Lincoln, Monroe and Phillips counties. This district includes one of Arkansas’s larger cities Pine Bluff, as well as vast rural stretches.
In the video of the Stand Your Ground hearing, you see Sen. Flowers serving in a leadership role as Vice Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee. She also sits on: the Arkansas Legislative Council; Joint Budget Committee; City, County, and Local Affairs Committee; the Energy Committee; the Children and Youth Committee; and the Arkansas Legislative Black Caucus.
Flowers graduated from Philander Smith College in Little Rock (a HBCU) and what is now known as the Thurgood Marshall School of Law in Houston, Texas.
She’s long been an advocate for keeping Arkansans safe. Check out her 2017 speech on the Senate floor about legislation that initially allowed the carrying of firearms in college sports stadiums, in addition to college campuses, bars, day cares, and public buildings.