Small memorials to Jordan Davis, that were quickly removed, are planted outside the courthouse in Jacksonville, Fla., Tuesday Feb. 4, 2014. It is the...
Bob.Mack@jacksonville.com

The February 16 ‘MHP’ Syllabus

Updated

We will begin Sunday’s Melissa Harris-Perry with the latest from the Florida trial of the man who killed Jordan Davis, which reached a verdict Saturday. Michael David Dunn was convicted on four of five counts in the November 23, 2012 shooting death of Jacksonville student Davis, 17, who was unarmed.  After an argument over the volume of hip-hop music, Dunn opened fire on the car Davis and friends were sitting in. Dunn’s defense lawyer Cory Strolla said Wednesday that Dunn “had every reason to stand his ground.” A mistrial was declared on the one remaining count, first degree murder.

The White House announced last week the start of a new program, My Brother’s Keeper, which aims to increase education and professional opportunities for young black and Latino men. The program is not just groundbreaking in its ambitions, it also signals a shift in how President Obama has thus far addressed race in America. Despite being the first black Commander in Chief, President Obama has seldom focused on policies that explicitly address the minority communities. Instead, he often speaks in race-neutral terms about his goals and policies – or how those policies will impact minority communities even if the policy proposals are broad based in approach. But now, with three years left in office, and as Attorney General Eric Holder amps up action on voting rights and drug sentencing disparities, President Obama is focusing specifically on issues that affect young minority men. On Sunday, we’ll discuss the various ways the president has addressed race during his time in office and what this new shift indicates. 

NFL prospect Michael Sam, an All-American defensive end at the University of Missouri, announced publicly early last week that he is gay. Though Sam is not the first athlete to come out, he has set himself up to be the first openly gay player in the NFL if he is drafted in May. Though Sam has received support from the Twitter accounts of President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, as well as NFL allies such as Brendon Ayanbadejo and Chris Kluwe, less progressive responses from others both inside and outside the sports world remind us that coming out is still no easy feat. This point was further underscored on Friday when past Academy Award-nominated actor Ellen Page came out in an emotional speech at HRC’s first ever Time to Thrive Conference. On Sunday, join us for a discussion about Sam’s revelation, what it means for his future, and what it means to come out in 2014.

Be sure to read what we’ve linked above, and watch Melissa Harris-Perry Sunday at 10 a.m. EST on MSNBC! Also, don’t forget to join us on Facebook and Twitter with the hashtag #nerdland. Joy Reid, host of MSNBC’s upcoming show The Reid Report, will be in for our host

The February 16 'MHP' Syllabus

Updated