Respecting authority, taking education seriously and relearning the moral lessons derived from church are the three main ways Jacksonville's black male youth can stay out of the criminal justice system, a panel of African-American attorneys and clergymen decided.
For an added layer of protection, more black men should serve as mentors and role models for the boys, the panelists said Monday during a panel discussion hosted by the local NAACP chapter. Almost 50 people piled into Mount Olive Primitive Baptist Church to hear the panelists discuss how to keep black youth safe and how to prevent a Jacksonville child from ending up like Trayvon Martin.
The local NAACP branch called the town hall meeting to share facts about Florida's Stand Your Ground law. The organization's leaders felt it was important to share the information in light of the Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman second-degree murder case.
During the discussion, local attorney Rhonda Peoples-Waters read the Stand Your Ground to the audience.
"So basically what this means is you don't have any duty to retreat," Peoples-Waters said. "You can defend yourself anywhere you have a right to be. It used to be just in the home -- we called it the Castle Doctrine -- here in Florida."
Pastor Victor Cole of Mount Zion AME Baptist Church said there are more and more parents allowing their children to not attend church and that action is making today's youth forget how to respect authority. Cole said if more black youth were in the church, they would learn, for example, to be respectful if a police officer pulls you over.
Source: Florida Times Union | Khristopher J. Brooks