Following the fallout surrounding the controversial verdict in the State of Florida v. George Zimmerman case in July, UNC groups are working to ensure students are educated before forming opinions on the outcome.
The Black Student Movement’s Political Action Committee, in conjunction with the Carolina Black Caucus and UNC NAACP, is hosting a three-part discussion series on the Trayvon Martin case.
The events, which kick off Wednesday, will allow students to have open conversation and ask questions about the case.
“We hope to give those attending more insight to develop knowledgeable criticisms of the case,” said Brandon Napier, BSM’s Political Action Committee co-chairman.
“We want to clear up any misconceptions about criminal law trials so that when they’re making opinions about the Trayvon Martin case, they’re able to be knowledgeable in those (opinions) and be able to consider all of the factors that went into the case.”
Martin was an African-American young man who was shot and killed by Zimmerman, a community watchman in a Florida neighborhood who claimed self-defense in his trial. Zimmerman was found not guilty of second-degree murder in the incident under a Florida statute known as the “Stand Your Ground” law, which allows for deadly retaliation in cases of self-defense.
In response to continued national attention to the case, BSM organizers decided to host the series to provide students with a space to explore issues around the shooting.
BSM Political Action Committee Co-Chairwoman Summer Holmes said Wednesday’s discussion — “The Decision, The Law and Understanding Court Procedures” — will focus on legal terminology.
“We’re going to be talking about legal vernacular … basically any elements of the case that a normal, everyday person wouldn’t know,” Holmes said.