SHARECOMMENTMORE

EAST CLEVELAND, Ohio -- In the wake of the highly publicized George Zimmerman-Tryavon Martin shooting death case, the debate over not only gun laws, but race relations, is once again front and center.

Monday night, an East Cleveland judge who mentors local first-time offenders to help them make better decisions changed the topic of his meeting.

It didn't focus on the decision, but more turned the discussion to "where do we go from here?"

"It's a black issue and that's what I want to discuss," said East Cleveland Municipal Court Judge William Dawson. "I want to talk to our African American participants tonight about how we can better our lives, how we can raise the bar and most importantly, I'm going to talk about value."

"How it's important to raise your value because we can demand that other races and other people value us, but we also have to show that we value ourselves," Dawson explained.

Judge Dawson also talked about the life lessons people can take away from the case.

Diversion programs like this one try to prevent people from committing more serious crimes in the future.