Democratic state Senator Stephanie Flowers is receiving a massive amount of attention for a viral video of her delivering a powerful rebuke of an attempt to pass a Stand Your Ground law in Arkansas. The video has been viewed millions of times in less than 48 hours.
Sen. Flowers is a stalwart in Democratic politics in the Arkansas Delta, but many across the nation are only hearing about her for the first time. So, who is Stephanie Flowers?
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).
“At the age of 15, on one of those trips, he witnessed the burning of lynching victim John Carter on a funeral pyre at the intersection of West Ninth Street and Broadway, an event, he later recalled, that “truly converted [him] to be a lawyer.”
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.