'WATCH YOUR CHILDREN:' Black mums Terrified After Zimmerman Verdict

George Zimmerman verdict reaction: Tanetta Foster breaks into tears in front of the Seminole County Criminal Justice centre after learning George Zimmerman had been found not guilty in the Murder of Trayvon Martin on July 13, 2013 in Sanford, Florida. Zimmerman, a neighbourhood watch volunteer, shot and killed 17-year-old Martin after an altercation in February 2012

The George Zimmerman “not guilty” verdict was a foregone conclusion for many legal experts, but the news still stunned and angered people who wanted justice for the black 17-year-old boy he killed.

It is also a terrifying development for many black mums, some of whom shared their immediate reactions with Essence Magazine. Here were some of the more poignant tweets:

@essencemag Watch your children, they are under attack, hold them & let them know they are loved! #justicefortrayvon – MsJackSun 

@essencemag My son walks thru nbhood coming home from work each night. I feel he is less safe. #zimmermanverdict – szking

@essencemag I’m looking at my 2 year old son and praying for him like I’ve never prayed before. #ZimmermanVerdict – FashionandFaith

Race was a the centre of the Zimmerman drama, but as many court watchers have pointed out, it was barely mentioned during the three-week trial for the death of Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman, who’s half Hispanic, spotted the black teenager walking in his neighbourhood in February 2012 and immediately deemed him “real suspicious” in a call to police.

Zimmerman then muttered about “f—ing punks” and “these a–holes.” He didn’t use explicitly racist language, but many of Zimmerman’s detractors believe he profiled the teen because he was black. George Zimmerman may have mentored two black kids and been friendly with a black neighbour, but when he spotted one he didn’t know he believed he was “up to no good.”

Zimmerman’s acquittal will be seen as a “green light for racist vigilantes,” Rich Benjamin writes in Salon. Benjamin, who’s black, knows what it’s like to be frequently viewed as suspicious. Recently, he went to to his office on a Sunday evening when a white man in the building said, “Can I help you?”

The man said he just wanted to make sure things were OK. Benjamin shot back, “Thank you, George Zimmerman.”

It’s possible that man was cringing inside. Like George Zimmerman, he probably had black friends, too.

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