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DALLAS -- The verdict in the George Zimmerman case has spawned a national debate, large-scale protests, and now a scholarship fund.

The reality of it is that there is a lot of passion behind this issue, and I think passion is great, but I think being strategic, tactical, and understanding of the laws and the parameter of the laws is even better," said Paul Quinn College President Michael Sorrell.

Incensed by the legal protections that led to Zimmerman's acquittal for the killing of Trayvon Martin, Paul Quinn College, a historically black college in Southern Dallas, is offering the new $7,500 Scholarship for Social Justice to a student who shows potential to bring about change in the community and in the justice system.

"We're doing this because someone must stand up and say, 'No, not again - not ever again - and we are proud to be those people," Sorrell said.

Much of the funding comes from the Open Channels Group, a North Texas PR firm that specializes in multicultural communications. The outfit's president explains she couldn't just sit idly by after Trayvon Martin was killed and the shooter was acquitted.

"I just felt like, having a 7-year-old son, I needed to do something," said Open Channels Group PR President Tonya Veasey. "I think, like many parents, I tossed and turned at night wondering what it is I could do, and this is just the best way for being a part of the solution."

I felt the best way to make a difference was to educate young black men and have them be a part of the justice system," Veasey added.

The college will begin taking applications for the Scholarship for Social Justice this fall.

E-mail jwheeler@wfaa.com

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