|Teen forum set|
|Friday, 15 March 2013 02:40 | Written by Valerie J. Morgan|
Lessons from Trayvon Martin and more
As attorneys in Sanford, Florida prepare for the Trayvon Martin trial this June, a group of DeKalb County attorneys plans to host a forum that examines lessons that can be learned from the teen’s death and other tragedies.
Attorneys are hosting a half-day forum on March 30 in South DeKalb to open dialogue with high school students about race, law enforcement, the Hip Hop culture and other key issues facing teens.
“We’re trying to reach high school students so we can have a conversation about critical issues that concern them, especially the criminal justice process and how they can avoid getting caught up,” said Attorney Dionne McGee, president of the DeKalb Lawyers Association, which is sponsoring the “Teens Talk Back” event in partnership with DeKalb County Commissioner Larry Johnson and the Preparing Innovative Leaders of Tomorrow (PILOT) program, a DeKalb mentoring project for youths.
McGee said that one of the forum’s breakout sessions is entitled “Could You Be Trayvon Martin?” The other session is entitled “Don’t Get Caught Up,” and will focus on the legal ramifications of statutory rape. McGee said the Atlanta case involving Genarlow Wilson, a 17-year-old who served two years of a 10-year sentence after having consensual oral sex with a 15-year-old, will be part of the discussion.
“We have young people who are sexually active. That is the reality,” McGee said. “We have to make sure, however, that they understand the consequences of their actions because some 18 and 19 year olds will date 14-year-olds and can end up in trouble.”
McGee said parents are encouraged to attend the forum. A workshop tract specifically for them is being offered at the forum.
“We want parents to bring their kids. It’s an opportunity for them to dialogue with attorneys and others in the criminal justice process as well,” said McGee. “A lot of people are wondering, as an example, why hasn’t the man who killed Trayvon Martin been brought to justice. We’ll address those kinds of questions and others.”
February marked the one-year anniversary of Martin’s death, which touched off a national debate on racism, stereotypes and the Stand Your Ground Law. The unarmed black teen was shot to death by George Zimmerman, a white Hispanic Neighborhood Watch volunteer, who told police Martin looked suspicious.
Martin was wearing a hoodie as he walked home in the rain. He was carrying a pack of Skittles and an ice tea that he had bought from a 7-11 convenience store when Zimmerman pursued him and fatally shot him. Martin had just turned 17 three weeks before he was killed.
McGee said the “Teens Talk Back” event is free, but attendees must RSVP because space is limited.