President Barack Obama's remarks on race hit home in Florida

Young Floridians talking about race relations

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. - President Barack Obama's surprise statement Friday concerning the George Zimmerman verdict and race relations across the U.S. is having a personal impact on young Floridians. It is a seemingly unavoidable topic - even on the basketball court.

They come out to play each night; escaping what they call the 'real world'.

Young Floridians of all races came together Friday for a pick-up game of basketball in North Palm Beach. They are, in a sense, a cross-section of America, darting across the basketball court.

"Everybody's fun and games. Nobody comes out here with a racist attitude," said Brandon Seymore, who often plays basketball outside the North Palm Beach Community Center with his friends, some of whom are black and some of whom are white.

Seymore, who is black, was having a very serious court-side discussion Friday because of the unexpected words of President Obama.

"There are very few African American men who haven't had the experience of being followed when they were shopping in a department store," said the president. "And that includes me." The president made the unexpected and personal remarks about life - past and present - for a young black man in America.

Seymore and others say they heard and felt the president's words when Mr. Obama spoke of what he feels is a disparity in the way black men are treated under the law.

"When he talks about his experience, I'm putting myself in his shoes," said Josh Philostin of Riviera Beach, who is black. "He's putting himself in my shoes," he said.

These young athletes make clear that they are here to play basketball; not talk race relations.

"We just come here to ball; no matter your skin color, no matter how good you are," said Cody Burden of Palm Beach Gardens, who is white. "We just come here to ball and have fun."

The discussion continues in over 100 cities across America on Saturday with a 'Justice For Trayvon' national day of vigils. Eight of those vigils will be held in Florida, including one at the Federal Courthouse in Fort Pierce. 

The Reverend Al Sharpton's organization, The National Action Network, is facilitating the vigils. Sharpton will stand alongside Sybrina Fulton, Travon's mother, in New York City. Trayvon's father, Tracy Martin, will be at a vigil in Miami.

 

 

 

 

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