By Dorothy Rowley
Special to the NNPA from the Washington Informer
Rachel Jeantel, the star witness for the prosecution who reluctantly took the stand late last month during the Trayvon Martin murder trial, has been offered a full scholarship to attend any historically Black college or university she chooses.
Syndicated radio host Tom Joyner, speaking with Jeantel via phone on his show, said he was moved by Jeantel’s testimony.
“If you want to graduate from high school and go to an HBCU — even if it’s not in Florida but especially Florida, like Florida Memorial, Edward Waters or FAMU — if you want to do that, I want to help you do that,” the radio host told Jeantel. “I will help you get tutors to get you out of high school, tutors to help you pass the SAT and I will give you a full-ride scholarship to any HBCU you’d like.”
Jeantel, 19, was the last person to speak to Trayvon prior to his death on Feb. 26, 2012, speaking with him on the phone minutes before he was shot to death by George Zimmerman, a self-appointed neighborhood watch captain for the gated community in Sanford, Fla., where Trayvon’s father lived. The 17-year-old Martin was unarmed during the confrontation.
On Saturday, a jury found Zimmerman not guilty after a month-long trial.
Jeantel was widely criticized and ridiculed for her speech after testifying. But during an appearance Monday on CNN’s “Piers Morgan Live,” she explained that she has a speech impediment caused by a bone malformation and has been hesitant to correct it due to the lengthy healing process.
Explaining her use of the of the term “creepy-ass cracker” during her witness stand reference to Zimmerman, Jeantel said that in her neighborhood the word “cracker” means a person who acts like a police officer.
She went on to say that she was “disappointed,” “upset” and “angry” over the outcome of the trial.
Jeantel refrained from making her true sentiments known about defense attorney Don West, who grilled her for hours on the witness stand.
“He’s lucky I’m a Christian,” she said.
Jeantel said she’s still grieving the death of her close friend Trayvon, whom she said was a “calm, chill, loving person” who loved his family, “definitely his mother.”
She said that while Trayvon smoked marijuana about twice a week, he was never prone to violence.
“Weed don’t make him go crazy,” she said. “It makes him go hungry.”
She described Zimmerman, as “weak and scary,” adding that he should have been “man enough” to testify about the events that led up to Trayvon’s death.