“Where do we go from here?” was the primary focus at the Florida Stand Your Ground Law session held at Florida A&M Thursday.
People filled the seats of Lee Hall to listen to Trayvon Martin’s father, Tracy Martin; Benjamin Crump, the attorney for the Martin family; Nancy Daniels, public defender for the 2nd judicial Circuit; Willie Meggs, a state attorney and more.
The panel spoke on topics such as the effects of stand your ground in the African-American community.
President of the FAMU Hatchett Pre-Law Society and panelist Sydney Cravy discussed the pressure and caution that African-American men and women experience today.
She said wearing certain types of clothing or doing certain actions could create dangerous stereotypes, which are reflected throughout the African-American community.
Cravy said she believes that this stems from racial profiling.
“Someone may look at me different,” Cravy said. “Someone may look at me as a threat.”
Melanie Andrade, president of FAMU’s chapter of the Dream Defenders, talked about the challenges and successes the organization faced at the capitol.
The Dream Defenders is an activist group powered by black and brown youth that confronts systemic inequality.
Andrade said African-Americans must be proactive and take control, and the group took a huge step during the George Zimmerman trial.
George Zimmerman was acquitted of the murder of slain Florida teen, Trayvon Martin in July.
“The capital is there for us,” Andrade said. “I don’t think that Florida is going to be a better place until we take back our power.”
The panel also discussed the culture of guns and the importance of safety. The speakers spoke about voting and how it can make a change in the near future.
It was stressed that people needed to know who their elected officials were and to not rely solely on President Barack Obama’s assistance.
Steven Smith, a senior criminal justice student from Tampa, said voting is not enough.
He said there is more work that can be done in addition to voting in order to make a change.
“We’ve gotta [got to] step up and do more than just voting,” Smith said. “You can still protest, you can still get organizations together, you can still make some type of effort.”
Jasmine Todd, a freshman criminal justice student from Jacksonville, said the session brought clarity to the stand your ground law.
“On TV, all you get is basically the run around or the clip version,” Todd said. “I actually learned a lot more about how the system worked.”