The University of Georgia Institute for African American Studies will present "I Am Trayvon Martin: Hoodies Up—How One Case Changed a Nation and Ignited the World." The lecture by UGA alumna and civil rights advocate Jasmine Rand will be Sept. 10 at 5 p.m. in the UGA Chapel.
Founder of Rand Law LLC and an adjunct professor at the University of Miami School of Law, Rand is a practicing attorney and international legal analyst known for her representation of the Martin family. She is the attorney of record for the family of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.
While "I Am Trayvon Martin" became a plea for social justice in the aftermath of the young man's murder in Florida in 2012, Rand's lecture will frame the battle cry in terms beyond race.
"Anyone can be a target to the dangers, tragedies and abuse of basic human rights that we experience all too often," according to Rand's speaker's bio. "When it comes to the present-day civil rights struggles across the world, some choose to overlook, and some choose to act."
A 2004 UGA graduate with degrees in African American studies and political science, Rand regularly appears in the media to share her expertise on litigation surrounding police brutality cases, though her interest in broader social reform has expanded beyond the courtroom.
"I don't take a unilateral approach to talking about the problems of racial disparity," Rand said. "I can win cases in court but that doesn't change access to education, that doesn't change access to opportunity."
As her work has extended to international judicial reform projects around the world, Rand's desire to continue her own education has found focus. She is scholar-in-residence at Harvard Law School in international human rights this fall, and she continues to develop curriculum and teach at the University of Miami School of Law.
"It's a much more sociological approach to teaching law," Rand said of her curriculum.
"If you break down every aspect of the Trayvon Martin case, things that are tangible and things that are intangible, you're dealing with civil and human rights, and so much of that is not quantifiable in a traditional sense. So there are certain aspects that have a very real influence on leading a movement and creating social change and changing the law that have nothing to do with black letter law."
Rand notes the media's impact on educating the general public—to influence voter turnout and legislative changes—as well as the influence of popular music among these factors.
"There are many aspects of the law and the social justice movement that are not quantifiable and not tangible, but they are worth discussing in the educational context."
Rand received her Juris Doctor from the Florida State University College of Law.