On his radio program Tuesday, radio host Tom Joyner announced that he would fully pay for Rachel Jeantel to attend a historically black college or university of her choice.
Jeantel is the friend of Trayvon Martin who was the last person to speak to him before his February 2012 death and the star witness in the trial against George Zimmerman.
Joyner told Jeantel on his radio program early Tuesday, “if you want to graduate from high school, and go to an HBCU…if you want to do that, I want to help you do that.”
Jeantel is currently 19 years old and is about to enter her senior year of high school in Miami. She’s scheduled to graduate next spring, at the age of 20.
Joyner continued, “I will help you get tutors to get you out of high school, tutors to help you pass the SAT and I will give you a full ride scholarship to any HBCU you’d like.”
Jeantel thanked Joyner and said she was “shocked” by the offer.
She also said that she’d like to pursue a career in law enforcement.
Reached for comment, the president of the National Association For Equal Opportunity in Education — the non-profit umbrella organization for America’s HBCU’s — released a statement to the Daily Caller, applauding the news.
“This generous offer typifies Dr. Tom Joyner,” Lezli Baskerville told TheDC.
“An HBCU would be an ideal environment in which Ms. Jeantel could realize her educational aspirations because of their academic excellence and signature protective, supportive, nurturing environments,” Baskerville continued.
Baskerville said that Jeantel has been “pilloried and ridiculed in the national media.”
At an HBCU, Baskerville explained, “Ms. Jeantel will be able to realize her educational aspirations in a welcoming and supportive environment.”
Because of Jeantel’s “tri-cultural, tri-lingual background” which includes fluency in Haitian Creole, Spanish, and English, Baskerville said “off of the top of my head, I would suggest that Ms. Jeantel consider Southern University New Orleans (SUNO) because of the French Creole culture in New Orleans.”
Baskerville said that SUNO “has one of the nation’s leading criminal justice programs.”
In an interview that aired on CNN’s Anderson Cooper Monday night, one of the Zimmerman jurors said that she felt sorry for Jeantel because of her poor education. Juror B37 told Cooper, “I felt very sorry for her.”
“I think she felt inadequate toward everyone because of her education and her communication skills,” the woman said.
Jeantel told CNN’s Piers Morgan in an interview that she felt “anger” at the juror’s statements and explained that her speech is complicated by an underbite.
During cross-examination by Zimmerman attorney Don West, Jeantel said that she was unable to read cursive.
Jeantel was also shown to have been untruthful about her personal life in the lead up to the trial. She admitted that she lied about her age and her whereabouts during Martin’s funeral — a fact Zimmerman’s lawyers sought to use to impeach her testimony in the minds of the jurors.