Race Discussions At Home Post-Verdict

By Julie Montanaro
July 16, 2013

Tallahassee, FL - The not guilty verdict propelled many into the streets, but many others are digesting it at home, and having difficult discussions about race, guns and the justice system.

Van Wilson, father in Tallahassee, FL: "Here's this kid just going to the store, something that's so everyday, you know coming home and all of a sudden this happened, you know, how does this happen?"

Van Wilson tried to watch as much of George Zimmerman's trial as he could.

He wasn't surprised by the not-guilty verdict, but is increasingly troubled by the comments of Juror B-37 and wonders now why Manslaughter didn't prevail. He also wonders what it all means for his 19-year old son and other young black men.

Van Wilson, father in Tallahassee, FL: "It's a sinking feeling and you feel for them and you do, you do have some fears that could this happen to your child. We are in the same state with the same laws so you worry about that if your kid should end up in a situation like that."

Wilson's son-- 19 year old Van II, is a student at Tallahassee Community College.

Van Wilson II, student at TCC: "It was shocking how it all came out ... "

He says the deadly confrontation between George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin reinforced advice he's grown up with... Always watch who you're hanging out with, how you're dressed and don't leave home without your identification.

Van Wilson II: "People look at you as suspicious and you just have to... Basically-- just don't look out the ordinary...In a way it is kind of unfair, you know? Everybody should be treated the same way."

The Wilsons say they are optimistic about race relations in this state and country and hope people will use the Zimmerman case to re-evaluate their own perceptions of young black men.

Van Wilson II: "I hope it brings everyone together. Just talk about it-- see what we can do differently next time to prevent things like this from happening.

A town hall meeting next Monday July 22nd, at Godby High School will give everyone a chance to voice their hopes, fears and concerns. It starts at 6pm.


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