Race: Open Conversations with Fox 8 News
CLEVELAND, Ohio — The caller to the police in Sanford, Florida, made his suspicions clear.
“He’s got his hands in his waistband,” George Zimmerman says, before adding, “and he’s a black male.”
A few moments later, Zimmerman’s encounter with teenager Trayvon Martin, who was not armed, would leave Martin dead of a gunshot wound.
It’s a shooting that sparked nationwide protests after Zimmerman was not initially arrested.
He has now been charged, and maintains he acted in self-defense.
But the story has opened up new conversations about race in America.
Those conversations, though, are often vague and rarely personal.
At FOX 8, we wanted to change that.
So this week, we will present a series of intimate conversations with some of our own people about the role of race in their lives.
It will be unlike much of what you ever see on television news.
“I just remember being so very scared,” Wayne Dawson says, recalling the sounds of race riots outside his home when he was a child in Cleveland’s Glenville neighborhood.
“I was thinking that a bullet was going to come flying through my window,” said Dawson.
We will explore fear, and shock that can lead to anger.
Our Jennifer Jordan recalls walking into a bar to meet friends in another city, and hearing someone shout to her, ‘You’re not welcome here,’ because she is African-American.
If you think these conversations will be full of angry rants, you’ll be surprised.
“Look for the humanity in people,” Kenny Crumpton says, “and I think people will be surprised how much everybody has in common.”
“It doesn’t matter what color you are,” Wayne Dawson says, “has nothing to do with anything. You can still achieve what you want to achieve.”
“My parents always taught me, ‘Do not judge a person by the color of their skin,’ ” Jennifer Jordan says.
Melissa Reid recalls being taunted in school because she was Asian, and wanting to look like everyone else.
Now, she says, as a journalist, “I think the unusual and the different is a lot of times where you find the most amazing stories.”
And meteorologist Angelica Campos recalls first experiencing discrimination when her family moved from Costa Rica to Atlanta.
But she says her family loves America for all the opportunities it has presented them, adding the discrimination “is not enough to kill a dream.”
Dreams, hopes, fears, and ultimately, the power of believing in yourself and in many others who help you along the way.
We call these conversations simply, “Race: Our Stories.”
They will air all next week on FOX 8 News.