Forever 17: Jason Davis’s Death Brings Attention to Black Lives Matter at Clark

A father who lost his 17-year-old son to a deadly shooting in November of 2012 crossed the country from Jacksonville, Florida, bringing his message of fighting for justice and equality to Clark College Sunday evening.

Ron Davis, father of Jordan Davis, visited Clark for a movie screening of the award-winning documentary “3½ Minutes, Ten Bullets,” which portrayed the aftermath of the shooting, including the family’s constant battle for a fair trial. The documentary featured police interrogation footage, prison phone recordings and interviews with people who were with Jordan that night.

Davis said their experience was unique because they’re “the only family that got a conviction in the South, where a white citizen killed a black kid.” 45-year-old Michael Dunn was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life imprisonment without parole.

Upwards of 30 community members gathered in Gaiser Student Center to see the film and participate in a public forum afterwards, led by a panel and facilitated by King County Superior Court Judge LeRoy McCullough.

The panel was made up of Ron Davis, Camara L. J. Banfield from the Clark County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, Lt. Greg Raquer from the City of Vancouver Police Department and Rick McLeod, an attorney from the Clark County Bar Association President Board of Trustees.

After McLeod said he welcomes of people of different backgrounds and has no fears or biases against other races, Banfield countered his comment.

“I think it’s really important that we acknowledge our fear of other people, regardless how that may make us appear as a person,” Banfield said. “If we don’t acknowledge our prejudices … and fear, we’re not able to get past them.”

Reassuring the audience, Davis said it’s good to be uncomfortable. “We need to be talking about stuff that’s real and that hits you hard and makes you feel it all the way down to your toes.”

At the reception, Gumbo Goddess Catering served a mix of Creole and Italian food, including caprese bites, fruit infused water and a signature Voodoo cake with white chocolate butter.

The Harambee Black Student Union, Black People United from WSU V, the Vancouver Black Lives Matter chapter and Vancouver’s National Association for the Advancement of Colored People attended the event and set up tables with information in the back of the room.

Davis concluded his speech by reminding the audience to accept allies with backgrounds and cultures different from their own.

“Some of the best people that will support you and understand you are people that don’t look like you,” he said. “It’s not about the color of your skin. It’s about your character … and whether you care for humanity … for your children … for your future.”

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