I wasn’t surprised by the verdict. I was born and raised in Sanford, a city of 54,000 people north of Orlando. For many years, an invisible line separated Black and White, rich and poor.
The shooting exposed Sanford’s racist history and the years of mistreatment and mistrust by the mostly White police department in the Black community.
I had been a journalist for more than 20 years, but this was my first time covering a trial. Even so, I knew something was terribly wrong during jury selection when a White woman in her 50s said that Trayvon Martin would have never been shot and killed if he hadn’t been suspended from school. She was chosen for the jury. I watched as a blond woman in her 30s seemed to flirt with defense attorney Mark O’Mara. She also was chosen. From the beginning I wondered, “Will this group of mostly middle-aged White women really understand the life, the challenges, the fears of a 17-year-old Black boy?”
Read the complete story here: http://http://www.essence.com/2013/07/18/trayvon-wasn%E2%80%99t-first-sanford%E2%80%99s-black-problem?XID=OUTBRAIN_EE