Less than a week ago, George Zimmerman was found not guilty in the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. The reaction to the verdict resonated across many communities, with marches taking place across the country, but it hit even closer to home for a group of young leaders from Palm Beach County, Florida, known as the NULITES.
The NULITES, short for the National Urban League Incentive to Excel and Succeed, is a program pushing students in West Palm Beach to excel in education, leadership, and service. The student-run group meets once a month to discuss topics ranging from gang violence to career coaching.
Given the recent not guilty verdict in the Zimmerman trial, this week’s meeting was all about the Florida laws that contributed to it. A panel of teachers, attorneys and guidance counselors offered insight and advice, to parents and students, on how to understand the “stand your ground,” law and react if ever confronted by a potentially armed stranger.
Gloria Scott has overseen the program for the last six years and says, “it’s important that we take this opportunity to have a teachable moment for our kids and help them understand what’s going on in their community and the world.”
The Trayvon Martin Foundation, The National Urban League, The NAACP, and others are calling on the Justice Department to pursue civil rights charges against Zimmerman. Zimmerman’s defense team maintains that he did not racially profile Martin and shot him in self-defense. As the verdict continues to divide those who believe the jury made the right, or the wrong, decision, one thing is clear: this South Florida community plans to try and move forward, together.
This post originally appeared on theGrio.