Midlands pastor using Zimmerman case to discuss racial profiling - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

Midlands pastor using Zimmerman case to discuss racial profiling

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A Midlands pastor who grew up in Central Florida is now using the Trayvon Martin case as a springboard to talk to young African Americans about racial profiling. 

Bishop Eric Freeman is featured in next week's Time Magazine in an article called "After Trayvon" where he gives possible solutions to handling a controversial yet real problem.

Freeman addressed the case's end Sunday morning just hours after the verdict. He stood before his congregation at "The Meeting Place Church" in Columbia, helping them digest and discuss how to move forward. 

"The initial push-back and thoughts and reflections -- to make sure the hurt didn't morph into hate," said Freeman.

He says he's not surprised by the verdict that acquitted George Zimmerman, but does not believe justice was served.

"The law does not always speak what is just," said Freeman. "As a matter of fact, our entire Christian faith is built upon Christ, who was unjustly crucified under the parameters of the law."

He preaches this from the pulpit and in the Time article, he talks about using this case as a living example that racial profiling does exist.

"We do have to say to our young black boys: it's important for you to recognize that this is a reason that people will use to act in ways that are not appropriate and there are steps you need to take to keep you out of that position," said Freeman.

It's a message Marc Cooper is already teaching his 9-year-old son, Malachi.

"I explained to him how I felt as a father and when I first heard about the case I told him that I began to cry," said Cooper. "I became Trayvon Martin's father for about 15 minutes."

Cooper has tried to explain to his son why people are rallying for justice and says he wants his son to have a strong sense of self.

"When you walk out the door, you have to understand who Malachi Cooper is because many people look at you differently," said Cooper. "But it's important he identifies who he is in God and once he understands that, he doesn't have to walk around timid."

Pastor Freeman says the answer is not necessarily stopping the profiling but controlling the response.

"This isn't about what's fair," said Freeman. "This isn't about what's right. My father taught me growing up in North and Central Florida, you have a choice. You can live or you can be dead right. This is about living to tell."

And that's what the discussion is called as well: "Live 2 Tell". It's a component of the church's back-to-school program. It will discuss racial profiling in addition to tips for kids to dress for success and act successfully.

The event is Saturday, Aug. 10 at The Meeting Place Church on Percival Road from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

If you have any questions, Call (803) 419-8884, e-mail: info@gotmpc.org, or visit www.themeetingplacechurch.org.

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