By Maureen Smith
JACKSON – Benjamin Crump, a civil rights attorney famous for representing both the families of Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin, will headline this year’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. memorial event at the Cathedral of St. Peter the Apostle, Sunday, Jan. 11, at 3 p.m. The event is sponsored by the Diocese of Jackson and organized by the Office of Black Catholic Ministry.
Crump is a partner at Parks and Crump, LLC, based in Tallahassee, Fl., and a graduate of Florida State University School of Law. He gained national attention representing Trayvon Martin, a black teenager who was shot and killed by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman in Sanford Florida, but Crump has been involved in civil rights cases for many years. Many of his cases involve violent altercations with police.
Crump represented a college graduate who was shot in the back during a traffic stop and the family of a boy who was killed after being restrained and suffocated at a Florida boot camp. He is currently representing the family of Michael Brown, a teenager shot and killed by police in Ferguson, Mo. A grand jury recently declined to charge the officers involved in the case. Both the shooting and the grand jury decision sparked widespread protests, some of them violent.
“During the 1960s Civil Rights movement the religious leaders and the attorneys led the fight for equal rights. In the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We must unite and be the drum majors for justice,’” said Crump.
The Catholic Church in Mississippi was particularly active during the Civil Rights Movement, operating schools and learning centers and speaking out against violence such as the assassination of Medgar Evers.
“I invited Ben because I think his experience translates in to the sort of call for our faith communities, large and small, to continue the fight for social and economic justice in our communities in Mississippi,” said Will Jemison, head of the Office of Black Catholic Ministry. “The Catholic Church in Mississippi has consistently shown its willingness to stand up for what’s right and just and having someone on the national scene share his experiences in fighting against institutional injustices and prejudice seems right for our time,” said Jemison.
Jemison is planning an interfaith event and would welcome groups from any other faith traditions. For more information contact Jemison at 601-949-6935.