Trayvon Martin’s friend, Rachel Jeantel, the bold teen who took the stand during the trial of Martin’s accused killer in 2013 and was later a victim of one of the defense attorneys and social media for everything from her girth to her use of slang during her testimony, has graduated from high school. She was the last to speak to Martin, 17, before the unarmed teen was gunned down.
The attorney for the Martin family, Benjamin Crump, shared the good news on Twitter. Martin’s mother, Sybrina Fulton, was in attendance at the graduation.
With the financial backing of the Tom Joyner Foundation, Rod Vereen, a Miami defense and civil rights attorney, created a team of three tutors, a psychologist and other mentors to guide Jeantel, who was entering her senior year in high school but was at an elementary-school level in reading and math.
“When they say it takes a village to raise a child, this is what has happened here,” he shares. “Getting her down that aisle has not been an easy task. Rachel is just like any other teenager. They want to buck the system sometimes, and you just can’t let them buck the system.”
It took nine months, but she made it.