Trayvon Martin Case: ABC News Radio Conversation on Race and Justice


"What mortifies me is that someone like this who is running around stalking people, looking for a fight, that someone like that could even have a gun in the first place," Otter Lee, 17, said at the town hall, to strong applause.

Taiesha Davis, a social worker, says she has been talking openly with her son for years about how to stay safe. It began with Sean Bell, she said. Now this has revived the conversation.

"I always tell my son, 'Just watch your surroundings, pay attention, don't look suspicious, take your hood off your head, make sure people can see your face, walk a straight line,'" she said. "Because you never know when something can occur."

"I have been stopped before," said Davis' 15-year-old son, Tyquan Davis, who stands at 6-foot-2. "And it just made me feel like a criminal. Like, there was no reason for them to stop me. But I look suspicious apparently."

Martin's death has sparked powerful reactions from political figures to entertainers and professional athletes. Across the nation, teams of organizers pushing for Zimmerman's arrest have staged rallies, protests and walkouts. More than two million supporters have signed an online petition calling for Zimmerman's prosecution.

Last week, Miami Heat star LeBron James tweeted a photo of himself and his teammates wearing hooded sweatshirts, their heads bowed in Martin's honor.

"I've applauded their actions," sports commentator Stephen A. Smith said when asked about James' tweet, "simply because it's rare that I get an opportunity to see athletes stand up for something in this day and time. They just don't do it."

"A lot of times, you know, when you look at it in terms of their advertising, their marketing dollars, their marketability, their brand, they think it's something that could ultimately compromise them," Smith said. "And because of that, they're a bit apprehensive about stepping forward. So, I've applauded them on this."

Asked by Roberts if he thinks the team will continue to bring light to the situation involving Martin, Smith said that remains to be seen.

"I think it is an opportunity," he said. "There's no doubt about that. But again, at some point in time they're going to be confronted about the big elephant in the room that some of them are not going to want to address."

"Let's be honest about something here," Smith added. "While we all can look at this case and question a lot of things that have gone on and look at this individual, Mr. Zimmerman, and say at the very least, he should've been arrested because a 17-year-old unarmed boy is dead. At the same time, once you get beyond that and we start getting into the problems that permeate throughout community, you have to deal with what's going on in our community -- the fact that we're doing a lot of damage to each other.

"When you are a black athlete, and you are out there, and you receive the level of support that these athletes received from those within our own community," he said, "and then you got to turn around and shine a light on the inequities that take place in our community, that are instigated by us, then all of a sudden, it becomes a bit more problematic, and something that they don't want to touch. But you can't really resolve the problem without attacking that part of the problem. And they've got to have the guts to do that, and I'm not sure they do."

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