The Louisville Metro Human Relations Commission will host a dialogue on the Trayvon Martin case this week.
The 17-year-old high school student was shot and killed in Florida by George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch captain who said Martin looked suspicious. Though Martin was unarmed, Zimmerman claimed self-defense and was not arrested by police, however, after weeks of national coverage and protests calling for his prosecution, Zimmerman was arrested this month and charged with 2nd Degree murder.
Discussions of the shooting have often been racially charged and surveys show that African-Americans and whites have starkly difference views on the case.
Carolyn Miller-Cooper is executive director of the Human Relations Commission. She says the forum will go over the legal specifics of the case and look at race relations in the city.
“We want to look at the human relations in this community amongst the people who live here and see how we can use this tragic situation that happened in Sanford, Florida to move forward in the Louisville community,” she says.
Locally, several groups led demonstrations calling for Zimmerman’s arrest and organizations have been launched to improve communication between police and area youth. During the protests, several residents saids a discussion on race in Louisville is long overdue.
Miller-Cooper says the commission hasn’t decided whether to submit any recommendations to the city based on the conversations, but there will be multiple forums throughout the community.
“We plan on having further dialogues with different panelists and eventually will move into smaller group discussions where individuals can get together and just talk and let people know this is who I am and this is what I’ve experienced,” she says.
The forum is scheduled for Wednesday at 5 p.m., in the Chestnut Centre located at 410 W. Chestnut Street.