UNF Race and Justice Panel with Mark O'Mara and Ron Davis

 ron davis

Mark O'Mara joined Ron Davis -- father of Jordan Davis, the unarmed teen murdered by Michael Dunn -- for an important conversation about race and justice. Hundreds of students and members of the community gathered on the UNF campus to screen the critically acclaimed documentary 3 1/2 Minutes, 10 Bullets, which chronicles the trial of Michael Dunn. Following the screening, Mark and Mr. Davis talked about race, guns, and self-defense.

Mark O'Mara Meets with Students at Heritage University

Heritage University is a small school in the Yakima Valley in Washington. The campus is quite literally surrounded by hops fields, which were being harvested when Mark O’Mara visited for a Masters of Advocacy event in September of 2015.

The students of Heritage University are mostly the children of migrant workers or members of the Native American population. During his trip, Mark had the opportunity to sit down and have a conversation with a number of students.

Mark spoke about his time as an undergrad at UCF, where he served as president of the student body. In the course of the conversation, Mark admitted that during his time at FSU College of Law, he had no intention of ever becoming a criminal defense attorney.

As students told Mark about their goals, Mark encouraged them to keep working hard, and to watch for opportunities because they might be surprised where their path will lead.

Dynamic Voir Dire and Jury Investigations CLE in Tallahassee on November 9, 2015

Mark O’Mara returned to his alma mater, the FSU College of Law, and as part of a full day’s worth of events, presented the popular Dynamic Voir Dire and Jury Investigation CLE Seminar. During the presentation, Professor Emeritus Charles Ehrhardt stopped in to observe. Ehrhardt once taught an evidence class at FSU College of Law, and mark was his student.

Race, Justice & Democracy | Yakima Town Hall | KCTS 9

Mark O'Mara joined Laura Contreras, Christopher Parker, and Sue Rahr for a televised town hall meeting on Race, Justice & Democracy hosted by Seattle's KCTS 9 and moderated by Enrique Cerna. The discussion begins when Enrique Cerna asks Mark O'Mara if we, as American's are afraid to talk about race. Watch the video to see Mark's answer.

Visiting Lecturer Series with Mark O'Mara in Yakima, Washington

town hall

On September 10th, Mark O’Mara visited Yakima, Washington as part of the Masters of Advocacy program. What started as an invitation from Assistant Professor Kimberly Bellamy-Thompson to visit the charming Heritage University -- a small school hidden among the hops fields in the high desert -- grew into a community event that addressed issues of race, justice, and democracy.

The day started with a CLE seminar on Dynamic Voir Dire and Jury Investigations before members of the Yakima County Bar Association. A special thanks to Amy Peters and Megan Murphy who promoted the event, and brought together some very interesting folks to participate in the seminar.

rotary addressAt noon, the Downtown Yakima Rotary asked Mark to speak. Mark talked about the need to provide better training and more pay to law enforcement officers. Yakima County Sheriff Brian Winter was in attendance, and after the presentation, the Sheriff and Mark spoke one-on-one about the crisis of trust in law enforcement.

Later, Mark visited the Yakima Herald to speak to Editorial Page Editor Frank Purdy about issues in the criminal justice system, including the problems with minimum mandatory sentences such as Washington’s first-in-the-nation three strikes laws.

Next, Mark passed through the Union Gap for an intimate conversation with students at Heritage University. Heritage is unique as it serves a population of students who are primarily Native American or the children of migrant workers. Mark described his journey from growing up in Queens, New York to becoming a criminal defense attorney, and he talked with students about their goals for the future.

The evening held the main event: a televised town hall discussion about Race, Justice, and Democracy hosted by Enrique Cerna from Seattle’s KCTS 9. More than three hundred crowded into the beautiful Yakima Valley Museum to take part in the event. Mark joined an impressive panel which included Laura Contreras of the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project; professor and author Christopher Parker; and Sue Rahr, who leads the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission. In one of the most poignant moments of the evening, the panel discussed that nature of “institutional racism” and the fact that despite all the progress our country has made in the pursuit of civil rights, there still exists disproportionate advantages for whites.

The trip concluded with a VIP reception to thank the sponsors who generously contributed time and money to make the event a reality. Sponsors included The Center for a New Washington at Heritage University, Humanities Washington, KCTS 9, Yakima Herald Republic, Yakima Valley Community Foundation and the Yakima Bar Association.

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