Local parents of Black boys are reacting to the guilty verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial

ATLANTA — Parents Terrence and Nadiya Thomas told Channel 2′s Audrey Washington that they hope the guilty verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial will be the first step toward change.

The Thomas family watched the moment the verdict came down against the man who killed George Floyd.

“I think this is a starting point,” Nadiya Thomas said.

Terrence Thomas said he specifically talked with his 11-year-old son, Chase Thomas, and 13-year-old son, Collin Thomas, about race and policing.

They said they hoped for a guilty verdict but, like so many African Americans, prepared for an acquittal. So when a jury found Chauvin, a now ex-Minneapolis police officer, guilty, the Thomas family was shocked and relieved.

“I want my guys to be able to survive society,” Terrence Thomas said.

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“But what we’ve also taught them is that you can comply and still come out on the losing end. So it’s tough, but we groom them tough,” Terrence Thomas said.

“I don’t want me or my brother to walk outside and think, ‘Am I next?’ or ‘Could this happen to me?’” Colin Thomas said.

Kevin Gooch heads the 100 Black Men organization.

“It’s going to be a long, painstaking process of restoring confidence of Black and people of color in the criminal justice system,” Gooch said.

He said, though tragic, this is a moment for real change.

“It gives you that little bit of hope that maybe we’re changing the narrative and being viewed through a prism of humanity,” Gooch said.