Trayvon Martin case opens NABJ convention in New Orleans–Rev. Al Sharpton participates in panel with parents

Jun 22, 2012

June 21, 2012

The Trayvon Martin case was the first topic of discussion at the opening ceremony of the 2012 National Association of Black Journalists Convention, which was held Thursday in New Orleans.

The panel discussion was titled, “Newsmaker Plenary: Trayvon Martin: A Crime Story In The Digital Age.”

More than 500 journalists from across the world attended the panel discussion, featuring Trayvon Martin’s mother Sybrina Fulton, father Tracy Martin, Rev. Al Sharpton, and the Martin’s family attorney Ben Crump.

The Twitter hashtag was #trayvonnabj and the discussion was moderated by CNN Legal Analyst Sunni Hostin.

First up was Rev. Sharpton, whose part of the panel was a one-on-one interview with Sunni Hostin.

On the backlash of being an advocate and a MSNBC host at the same time, Rev. Sharpton said that people know his talk show is about opinions, basically saying you know what you are going to get when you watch his show.

Sharpton said Rev. Jesse Jackson and Glenn Beck have both lead marches and championed causes while hosting national cable shows. So he said when were the rules rewritten for him, defending the idea that he can be an activist and a host/journalist at the same time, without conflict.

Before Rev. Sharpton left the stage, he left the crowd of journalists with “families never plan to be victims.”

Essentially telling members of the media that Trayvon’s parents did not ask for this attention and they are just trying to find justice for their son. Sharpton explained that it’s hard for them to play out the process in the media, especially when reporters analyze their every move and every comment, as if reporters are professional psychologists.

Trayvon’s parents and attorney took the stage together for the second part of the discussion.

During the 25 minutes they spent of the stage, the following highlights stuck out to me as I was taking notes.

Crump said he owes Trayvon’s father Tracy Martin an apology, because when he first heard the case, he assured Tracy that Sanford police would arrest Zimmerman.

Meanwhile, Tracy said rumors of his son Trayvon being in a Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fight club are false. He said Trayvon never took a karate classes and the rumors are simply negativity in regards of what they are fighting for.

“All of the objective evidence is against Zimmerman’s story,” Crump said Thursday.

The attorney also said if Zimmerman was reciting the true story, why would he not explicitly say he was following Trayvon, when audio recordings of phone calls Zimmerman made to police show that he was following Trayvon.

Fulton commented that it hurts to see the various headline news articles that disparage the memory of her son.

She also discussed her website where she addresses her feelings on Florida’s “Stand Your Ground Law” and the parts of the law she believes should be changed.