Last summer, the NAACP released a set of goals for its more than 1,200 chapters to use as a guideline for pushing for legislation aimed at curbing racial profiling and stand your ground laws. So far, there have been some successes in getting reforms passed, NAACP officials say, but there is a great deal of work yet to do.
The proposed package of legal reforms are known as “Trayvon’s Law,” a response to the death of Trayvon Martin two years ago at the hands of George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer in suburban Orlando.
“We have more than 1,200 active chapters around the country and this is a package they can use to affect changes in their legislatures,” said Niaz Kasravi, the director of the NAACP’s criminal justice program, in an interview with BET.com.
“We are seeing some successes,” she said. “We’ve had huge successes in New York around the issue of racial profiling, a reference to reforms implemented in the stop-and-frisk program of the New York City Police Department. And we think Florida is moving forward. Georgia has been doing some work around the stand your ground issue.”
She said that a large number of the chapters are enthusiastically pursuing many of the reforms outlined by the national civil rights organization.
However, legislative successes are often difficult since many of the states with stand your ground laws, for example, have Republican-controlled, conservative legislatures.
The package of reforms that comprise “Trayvon’s Law” calls for legislation to curb racial profiling practices as well as a call to provide better training and enhanced standards for community watch groups. It also calls for implementing civilian review boards for police departments and repealing of stand your ground laws. It also calls for the collection of data on incidents of violent crimes, particularly against people of color.
Kasravi said that there are NAACP chapters throughout the country that are pursuing portions of the recommendations or all of them.
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(Photo: Tim Boyles/Getty Images)