City where Trayvon Martin died seeks racial injustice reform

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SANFORD, Fla. (AP) – City commissioners where black teenager Trayvon Martin was killed by a neighborhood watch volunteer nine years ago have agreed to form an advisory committee to study how race, class and gender can lead to social inequalities.

The 15-member “Race, Equality, Fairness and Inclusion” group will be made up of residents, people who work in Sanford and business owners, the Orlando Sentinel reported.

The committee “will be charged with examining racial tensions in the city and how disparities in services, public and private, affect people of color more than their white counterparts”, Andrew Thomas, director of community relations and engagement district of Sanford. , said at a recent committee meeting.

They are asked to submit a report detailing their findings to the city commission in about eight months. The group will make recommendations on improving the inequalities that may exist in Sanford, including within government services related to housing, health care, education, criminal justice and employment, the newspaper reported.

Martin, who lived in Miami, was visiting his father when he was shot on February 26, 2012, during a confrontation with George Zimmerman, who has a white father and a Hispanic mother, as he returned home from ‘convenience store. Zimmerman claimed self-defense and was later acquitted in a jury trial. Martin’s death contributed to the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement in 2013.

A resolution approved by Commissioners on February 22 said: “The City of Sanford recognizes that racism and social inequality unfairly disadvantages specific individuals and communities and undermines the strength of any society through the waste of human resources. The city’s collective prosperity depends on equitable access to opportunities for every resident, regardless of skin color or social status.

The 125-year-old city has a history of racial tensions, with weeks of protests erupting after Martin’s death. About a third of Sanford’s 60,000 residents are black. Today, two of the city’s commissioners, the police the chief and the director of the city are black.

Commissioner Sheena Britton, a black woman elected in June, hopes to act rather than speak.

“It’s really important that we have a board like this,” said Britton. “But I want to make sure it leads to the implementation of something. It leads to a change. “

The city will provide the committee with up to $ 35,000 to pay for technical assistance, surveys and other costs. The group will work with the National League of Cities’ Race, Equity and Leadership program and the Peace and Justice Institute at Valencia College, the newspaper reported.

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