Tracy Martin, the father of slain Florida teenager Trayvon Martin, is scheduled to speak today at the first hearing of the U.S. Congressional Caucus on Black Men and Boys.
Martin plans to deliver opening remarks, according to the office of District of Columbia Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton.
Martin’s son, Trayvon, was shot in February 2012 in Sanford, Florida, by George Zimmerman, who followed him and reported to police that the teenager was acting suspiciously. Martin, 17, was returning home from a convenience store.
Zimmerman, who was legally carrying a firearm, told police that when he got out of his truck he was confronted and punched by Martin, and shot him in self defense. He was acquitted of a second-degree murder charge July 13.
“Although not timed with the conclusion of the Trayvon Martin trial, the Black Men and Boys Caucus inaugural hearing is right on time,” Norton said in a statement. “Our nation and our African American community need to bring our black men and boys to center stage.”
In reaction to the case, President Barack Obama said last week that “Trayvon Martin could have been me” and that the nation needs to do some “soul searching” on race and violence.
Obama said the shooting death of Martin by Zimmerman provoked “a lot of pain” among blacks because it reminded many that they often are the targets of suspicion and are vulnerable to violence.
“The African-American community is looking at this issue through a set of experiences and a -- and a history that -- that doesn’t go away,” the president said July 19 at the White House. “There are very few African-American men in this country who haven’t had the experience of being followed when they were shopping in a department store. That includes me.”
The newly formed congressional group is led by Norton and Representative Danny Davis, an Illinois Democrat.
In a statement, Norton said she spoke with the Martins’ family attorney, Benjamin Crump, who confirmed Martin will attend and offer remarks.