Close to 100 at risk teens from San Antonio attended a special assembly Monday at the Mount Zion First Baptist Church on the city’s Eastside to discuss the Trayvon Martin case.
Just days after accused killer, George Zimmerman was acquitted of murder, the Claude Black Youth Leadership Institute organized an assembly to give the teens an open space to talk about the landmark case and how it affects the African-American Community.
“We can't change that George Zimmerman got a not guilty verdict,” T.C. Calvart told the room. “But we can change is how the public and everyone else out there views us and we can change how we put ourselves out there.”
Several teens and kids there were able to ask questions and voice their concerns over the case. Other adults in the community were able to give their two cents and advice as well.
“They don't want you in their neighborhoods that's why those women that were on the jury, they sympathized with Zimmerman killing that young man,” Taj Matthews, executive director of the Claude & ZerNona Black Development Leadership Foundation, said explaining his take on the verdict to the kids in the room. “Because [the jurors’] attitude was well ‘when they move into our neighborhood they bring it down.’”
Other topics discussed: hooded sweatshirts, how to react to law enforcement and racial profiling.
“When police stop you, just be nice to them,” an adult in the assembly warned. “Make sure you don’t put your hands in your pockets because you can end up getting shot,”
Several of the teens attending the discussion said since the verdict was read, they’ve felt more in danger.
“Being a black person and black teen it makes me realize that I need to put myself in better positions at all times,” said a 16-year-old girl. “I am going to be thinking about what other people may be thinking of me because we are being racially profiled.”