Conference educates youth on civil rights, responsibilities
The Josiah T. Walls Bar Association, Inc. will host the third annual Law and Justice Youth Conference on Feb. 22 from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the University of Florida’s Levin College of Law. The conference will bring together 100 local students and civic leaders for an interactive learning experience focused on teaching youth the importance of civil rights history, its impact on their current rights and responsibilities, and how they can be active, engaged members of their communities.
This year’s theme, “Closing the Gap,” embodies the program’s goal to educate at-risk youth so they will leave the one-day event viewing themselves as stakeholders in the community who are capable of making positive change in the world. Gainesville Assistant Public Defender AuBroncee Martin said of last year’s conference, “Our goal is to tell them that the law is not a foe, it’s a friend … We want them to engage in the community in a positive way.”
Students will spend an activity-filled day with legal professionals, law students and community leaders. The program will promote more positive interactions between at-risk youth and legal and non legal professionals in their community, in hope that the dialogue will prevent future negative interactions with the legal system and inspire young students to be active and positive leaders in their community.
The speakers for this year’s conference are Courtney Taylor, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Social and Behavioral Sciences Department at Santa Fe College, and Benjamin L. Crump, Esq., a partner at Parks & Crump Law Firm in Tallahassee, who gained nationwide recognition for his role in the Trayvon Martin civil case as the Martin family’s attorney.