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Mississippi Organizations Respond to Verdict in Trayvon Martin Case

By Lawayne Childrey | Published 16 Jul 2013 12:45pm | comments
Photo Courtesy of the Associated Press

Mississippians who have followed the Florida murder trial of George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer who shot and killed 17-year old Trayvon Martin in Sanford Florida, continue to have strong reaction to Zimmerman's acquittal. The case has re-ignited conversations on race relations even in this state.

 George Zimmerman's acquittal for the killing of Trayvon Martin is being compared by some to the murder of Emmett Till a black teenager  who was killed in Money Mississippi in 1955 for allegedly whistling at a white woman. Dr. Jennifer Stoleman, is the Academic Director with the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation.

"I think about the ways in which that galvanized the country and launched our modern day civil rights movement and I think that because once again we have a young, black, male teenager who was only walking home, I think people are waking up and again, I should say reawakening," says Stoleman. 

Like Stoleman, the Zimmerman verdict also triggered strong opinions from Oleda Fitzgerald, Director of the Children's Defense Fund of Mississippi.   

"My reaction the verdict was heartbreak because I was feeling what I know these young people that we have been talking to and working with over the course of  time have to be feeling about how their lives just don't mean anything,"

Fitzgerald says Martins killing highlights not only gun violence but other issues that are often omitted during conversations dealing with race.    

"It is the conditions that many black and brown families are living in because of poverty and racism that people are being born into systems that devalue them so all of those things drive conditions that cause people to be suspect because folks are really angry," says Fitzgerald.

Organizations around the state like the Children's Defense Fund as Well as the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation say they will be conducting workshops to deal with issues of race here in Mississippi. 




Photo Courtesy of the Associated Press



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