The TalkingRace Project

We keep hearing that we need to have a conversation about race. But having an honest conversation about race is hard; it’s charged with guilt and fear, frustration and anger. The TalkingRace project seeks to facilitate this necessary conversation by collecting stories about people’s first encounter with racism, and sharing those stories to promote a better understanding of attitudes about race.

Read Mark O'Mara's Introduction to the TalkingRace Project»

Dr. JeffriAnne Wilder

wilder headshotDr. JeffriAnne Wilder is a sociologist and scholar specializing in diversity, race relations and gender issues. She is currently a tenured Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of North Florida. She holds a Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Florida. In addition to her studies in sociology, JeffriAnne also completed a concentration in Women's Studies and Gender Research. Dr. Wilder completed her MA in Sociology from Cleveland State University, and a BA from Allegheny College.

As a black woman and sociologist, Dr. Wilder is very passionate about connecting sociology to the everyday issues occurring within our society. She writes, researches, and lectures on the contemporary experience of black Americans and other racial/ethnic minorities. Her work has been published in an array of academic journals and publications, and she regularly speaks on race, gender, and diversity issues.

Dr. Wilder is also a distinguished expert and scholar of colorism in black American society. Her book, Color Stories: Black Women and Colorism in the 21st Century will be published in the fall of 2014.

Dr. Wilder' has been featured in local and national media including First Coast News, the Florida Times-Union, Black Enterprise, National Public Radio, the Takeaway, Nightline, 20/20, and The Grio, the New York Times. Her sociological expertise has been highly sought after in high-profile cases, including the Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis murder trials.

JeffriAnne was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio. She is a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Twitter: @jeffriannew

Mark M. O'Mara, Esquire

omara head shotMark M. O’Mara has been a fixture in the Central Florida legal community since 1983. While he started his career as a prosecutor for the State Attorney’s office in Seminole County, he quickly crossed to the other side of the courtroom and has served as a defense attorney ever since. Mark is one of the very few lawyers in Florida who is Board Certified in Criminal Trial Law and Marital and Family Law, he is certified in Collaborative Law and he is a Supreme Court Certified Family Mediator and Circuit Civil Mediator. He has practiced in both state and federal courts throughout the southeast and has co-counseled on matters throughout the nation. As a trial consultant, Mr. O’Mara helps other lawyers perform at their peak in trials with complicated legal issues and intense media scrutiny.

After leading the high-profile defense of George Zimmerman, Mr. O’Mara received acclaim for his even-handed management of the controversial case. His on-camera experience during the trial earned him a spot as a CNN legal analyst. Since the verdict, Mr. O’Mara has decided to use his voice to contribute to the national conversation about race, guns, self-defense, the media, and the criminal justice system and he speaks frequently on these topics.

Moreover, he started a non-profit organization called Justice Outreach, designed to identify and fix problems with the justice system. He is an advocate for change in state and national laws that lead to the over-prosecution of American citizens, whether it be by unbridled prosecutors or inappropriately applied minimum mandatory sentencing schemes.

Mr. O’Mara earned his J.D. from Florida State University College of Law in 1982, and received his undergraduate degree from University of Central Florida in 1979. Mr. O’Mara has taught at the University of Central Florida and Harvard Law School; has taught seminars for the Criminal Law Section of the Florida Bar, Central Florida Family Law American Inn of Court, the Family Law Section of the Florida Bar, the Florida Homicide Investigators Association, the University of Buffalo Mock Court Competition, and the Florida Family Law Practice for Paralegals program. He is Martindale-Hubbell A.V. Preeminent rated, served as President of the Seminole County Bar Association and as President of the Central Florida Family Law American Inn of Court.
Twitter: @markomaralaw