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Commission’s Trayvon Martin Roundtable to Lead Thoughtful Discussion on Eliminating Racial Branding

Published: Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Updated: Monday, April 9, 2012 16:04

Washington, DC – The office of Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) announced that her Commission on Black Men and Boys will host a panel of four witnesses at a roundtable hearing entitled, “Lessons from the Life and Death of Trayvon Martin,” on Tuesday, April 10 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the D.C. Armory. The commission, which Norton established a number of years ago, holds roundtable hearings and works to help resolve the issues that have a great impact on Black men and boys, including criminal justice, education, and chronic unemployment. The commission consists of men with strong credibility in the community on issues affecting African American men and youth.


Using its usual procedure, the commission will hear from a panel of residents who have firsthand knowledge or expertise. Tuesday’s witnesses include: Charles Rawlings, the father of DeOnte Rawlings, a 14-year-old African American boy who was killed in 2007, but federal prosecutors declined to charge two off-duty Metropolitan Police Department officers and the family settled a civil law suit against the city; Thomas Pearson-Green, a 17-year-old student at Dunbar Senior High School with a 3.97 grade point average, who will attend the University of Wisconsin to study biochemistry in the fall, and is a member of the D.C. Youth Advisory Council; Barry Hudson, National Mentoring chair for 100 Black Men of D.C. and father of two teenage boys, ages 13 and 15, who attend D.C. public schools; and Corey Dade, national correspondent for the National Public Radio Digital News, who played football at Grambling State University before transferring to the University of Maryland, and wrote a widely read piece on “The Talk” that African American parents give their teenage sons about avoiding problems they will encounter from people who will judge them by their skin color.


“The commission has always provided a thoughtful forum for discussion and problem-solving concerning the most vexing and controversial issues that African American men and youth face,” Norton said. “I commend our community for the almost spontaneous rallies for justice for Trayvon Martin. The national outpouring is clearly having an effect and will continue until an official law enforcement setting allows for justice for Trayvon in accordance with due process under the law for all concerned. However, this African American boy has become both a personal tragedy and a larger than life symbol for the Black families that, over the decades and centuries, have lost men and sons without accountability from those responsible. Trayvon’s life, and certainly his death, demands not only a careful review of what happened in Sanford, Florida, but also of what we should do tomorrow in America about violence against African American men and boys.”


Following the panel, commission procedure allows D.C. residents no more than two minutes each for questions or statements. 

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