This week, radio host and philanthropist Tom Joyner appeared on the “Piers Morgan Live” to explain why he felt moved to offer friend and star witness in the George Zimmerman trial Rachel Jeantel a free college education at any Historically Black College or University (HBCU) of her choosing. And according to Joyner, both the media’s and lawyer’s treatment of Jeantel inspired him to make a lasting impact on her her future.
For Joyner, seeing the barrage of criticism Jeantel received while she was on the stand disturbed him,
“Well, it all started of course at the trial. And when she testified, the reaction to her testimony was very troubling to me. People were criticizing her and her education and communication skills. The way the lawyer was just beating her up on the stand just really moved me.”
Still, Joyner didn’t get the idea to offer her a college scholarship until she appeared on the “Piers Morgan Live” show Monday night, “And then last night when I saw her on your show, you did a follow-up question that [asked her] what do you want to do in life.
“That’s when the light bulb went off. I said I want to help her. We have a foundation that helps students in historically black colleges and universities. The Tom Joyner Foundation has been around since ’98 and since then, we’ve donated and raised more than $65 million to that end.”
To Joyner, seeing Jeantel being still in high school at the age of 19 and struggling with the tragic death of friend Trayvon made him come to one conclusion: “She deserves a chance.”
“All this criticism about, you know, how the system has failed her or she’s failed the system. She’s 19 years old and she’s a senior in high school. Right, OK. So in the past year-and-a-half her life has been turned upside down. She’s been back and forth with depositions and appointments and everything, plus sad about her best friend being killed. So her senior year is all a wreck.”
When Piers Morgan asked Joyner whether he thinks Jeantel will manage in college, Joyner responded that he and his team are willing to do the work to get her ready, “It’s going to take some work, first of all, to get her high school diploma and get her ready for the SAT test … and then entered in to college. But we are going to do that…I told her she can go to any historically black college she wants to.”
Watch Jeantel accepting Joyner’s college offer here:
Photo Highlights: President Obama Chicago Farewell Speech
President Barack Obama makes his final farewell speech in his hometown of Chicago. Arriving at O'hare airport on Airforce One Tuesday, early evening was First Lady Michelle Obama, daughter Malia and Vice President Joe Biden along with wife, Jill Biden.
Making a final journey as the 44th President of the United States, expressways and local South Side streets were cleared as traffic stood at a complete when the 20-vehicle caravan made its way to Valois Restaurant in Hyde Park. There, President Obama conducted a one-on-one interview with NBC anchorman, Lester Holt before proceeding to give his farewell speech at McCormick Place.
Nearly 20,000 attendees packed the nearly standing-room only space in the East wing of the McCormick Place as VIP attendees sat upfront to hang onto the President's every word. There were various groups that traveled from far and near to be a part of history including celebrity sightings from Sharon Stone to Empire's Jussie Smollett--local and state dignitaries. Opening up the ceremony was a special performance by Hip hop/R&B singer, BJ the Chicago Kid showcasing belting out the national anthem is a smart blue suit.
Once President Obama hit the stage, the electric energy of emotions ran throughout the audience. At times, the crowd's applause was so loud that it impossible to hear him but there were moments that silence rippled throughout the venue--knowing this would be his last time addressing his hometown as Chief of Staff.
In his signature style of class, poise and honor--he addressed the various strides that he and his administration has made over the last eight years in protecting America's democracy. His emotions got the best of him when he addressed his wife, First Lady Michelle Obama and daughter Malia who sat in the front row along with Vice President Joe Biden, wife Jill and his mother-in-law--Marian Shields Robinson.
<p class="p1"><span class="s1">“Malia and Sasha, under the strangest of circumstances, you have become two amazing young women, smart and beautiful, but more importantly, kind and thoughtful and full of passion. You wore the burden of years in the spotlight so easily. Of all that I’ve done in my life, I’m most proud to be your dad.”</span></p>
<p class="p1">After the speech, the Obama family took time out to walk along the barricades, greeting and shaking hands with supporters and friends. The scene was definitely historic and we knew it was the end of an era of class that will not be duplicated in the White House for a very long time.</p>
<p class="p1"><a href="http://www.twitter.com/globalmixx">Follow Mary L. Datcher on Twitter</a></p>
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