22 Jul 2013
- Written by Deidra Shores/Special to The New Tri-State Defender
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Memphis answered the call on Saturday for 100 cities across the United States to assemble for an open discussion on the "Stand Your Ground" law.
Memphians and citizens from the surrounding area came together to rally for justice and peace in wake of the not-guilty verdict in the second-degree murder case of George Zimmerman, who killed unarmed teenager, Trayvon Benjamin Martin, in February 2012.
Hundreds of people – different backgrounds, different ages and many different religions – turned up at the National Civil Rights Museum. Everyday citizens were interspersed with elected spiritual leaders, company representatives and various others.
I talked with a few of the public speakers and asked them about moving forward after the verdict.
I asked Dr. Kenneth T. Whalum Jr. – former School Board Commissioner, pastor and father of three African-American sons – about what Memphians and Americans should do moving forward to make sure what happened to Trayvon Martin doesn't happen again. Dr. Whalum said that we must acknowledge the fact that we can't stop it from happening, but we must embark upon the greatest PR (personal responsibility) campaign in the history of the city of Memphis.
"As citizens we must take responsibility for ourselves and each other, and exercise every right we have despite of discrimination," Whalum.
Also on hand was radio personality "Stormy" from WDIA and sister station V101. She works with syndicated radio host, Tom Joyner, who has taken personal responsibility for the star prosecution witness, Rachel Jantel, by providing her with a full four-year scholarship to the HBCU of her choice.
I asked Stormy about what the citizens should do moving forward to make sure that there isn't another Trayvon Martin here in Memphis? She said the biggest thing is to educate young people on laws and to continue to fight for justice, noting the Department of Justice involvement in Memphis's Juvenile Court system.