Families Discuss Race Following Trayvon Martin Killing - WLNS TV 6 Lansing - Jackson | Your Local News Leader

Families Discuss Race Following Trayvon Martin Killing

More than 100 people gathered at the state capitol Tuesday evening in support of Trayvon Martin.

He's the 17- year-old Florida student who was shot and killed last month by a neighborhood watch captain.

Though the facts surrounding Martin's death are still unclear, his story is affecting families everywhere.

As the sun filled the afternoon sky, more than 100 people stood in the capitol yard to support Trayvon Martin and his family.

Parris Collins: "This family is grieving and my heart goes out to them."

But today Trayvon's story is no longer just about his family but about all black families.

Ruben Martinez, Professor of Sociology at MSU: "It's important to recognize that there is racism and they should not shy away from having that conversation."

Martinez says many of those conversations are coming with warnings about being cautious and polite when confronted.

Martinez: "I think the parents are fearful so they want to protect their children by telling them...don't make a...don't mis-step here."

Something many at the rally say they've heard.

Serena Lewis: "I've been told by my dad, take the easy way out, just try and walk away, be polite."

Alyjah Byrd-Goode: "Even if they're approached by a police officer and they've done nothing wrong, its important how you respond."

But it's advice Martinez says parents shouldn't have to give.

Martinez: "I can see where the parents are coming from but we should live in a society where we shouldn't have to do that."

Martinez says too often people approach black men and women with stereotypes, perpetuating racism and fear.

Collins: "Fears not good, I think fear may be the cause that motivated this whole thing."

Byrd-Goode: "When we think that we're one step ahead, we're taking 10 steps back."

In fact Martinez says we've done little more than take steps backwards for years now.

Martinez: "The situation has become worse over the last 30 years."

And that's not news to many here.

Brittany Green: "I really do feel like there's still racism in the world, its just maybe overlooked but its still there."

But as the nation reflects on Trayvon's story the issue is pushed to the forefront, leaving many with hopes the story will end with society taking one step forward.

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