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Jennifer Bendery
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Trayvon Martin Parents To Attend Capitol Hill Forum On Hate Crimes, Racial Profiling

Posted: 03/26/2012 6:55 pm Updated: 03/27/2012 7:34 am

WASHINGTON -- Trayvon Martin's parents will be on Capitol Hill Tuesday to attend a forum on racial profiling and hate crimes.

Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton, whose teenaged son Trayvon was shot to death last month by a neighborhood watch volunteer in Sanford, Fla., will be in the audience, but won't testify during the two-hour forum organized by Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee. Their family attorney Benjamin Crump will testify, however.

Four Congressional Black Caucus members -- Reps. John Conyers (D-Mich.), Corrine Brown (D-Fla.), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) and Frederica Wilson (D-Fla.) -- came up with the idea for the forum. Conyers and Jackson Lee serve on the Judiciary Committee. Brown represents Sanford and Trayvon was a constituent of Wilson's.

Participants will hold a news conference at 2 p.m. and a briefing at 3 p.m., with the goal of assessing "the role of the federal government regarding racial profiling and hate crime issues," according to a notice of the forum.

A House Democratic aide said Congressional Black Caucus members have been asking all Democratic members of the Judiciary Committee -- "white and black" -- to participate. Among those expected to give remarks are Congressional Black Caucus chairman Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.). But it doesn't appear that any Republicans are attending: Jackson Lee spokesman Michael McQuerry said GOP lawmakers "have been made aware" of the briefing and that it is open to all, but Kim Smith, a spokeswoman for Judiciary Committee chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas), said she thought the event was a "press availability" and wasn't sure Republicans were attending.

Others slated to testify include Rebecca Monroe, acting director of the Community Relations Service at the Justice Department; Albert E. Dotson, Jr., chairman of 100 Black Men of America Inc.; Robert Parker, former director of the Miami-Dade Police Department; Ben Jealous, president and CEO of the NAACP; and Daniel Gross, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.

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