Hillary Busis
July 18, 2013 AT 01:48 PM EDT

Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin made the morning-show rounds today, speaking out for the first time after George Zimmerman’s not-guilty verdict was announced July 13. Trayvon Martin’s parents were somber and resigned in each appearance, repeatedly expressing their shock at the verdict — and indicating that they may be moving forward with a civil suit.

Martin spoke movingly about his son on CBS this morning, opening the interview by saying, “I want America to know that Trayvon was a fun-loving child. He was our child. We miss him dearly. Just to have your child’s life taken away from you like that, it hurts. And it’s a process that will take a long time to start to recovery from.”

Fulton added that she was “stunned” when she heard Zimmerman was not found guilty of second-degree murder or manslaughter: “I [thought] that they would see that this was a teenager just trying to get home. This was no burglar. This was somebody’s son that was trying to get home.”

Both agreed that there was a racial element to the murder; “I think it was obvious that it was a black person, a black young person, that they were looking for,” Fulton said. “But Trayvon was simply not that person.”

Race was more of a focus in Martin and Fulton’s conversation with Matt Lauer on Today. Martin said that if his son had been white, “this would have never happened — so obviously, race played some type of role.” When asked if he felt that the legal system had failed her son, Fulton answered yes, “to a certain degree,” adding, “I just didn’t understand. How can you let the killer of an unarmed child go free?”

Trayvon’s parents also discussed the aftermath of the verdict, saying that they hoped all protests would be peaceful — and telling Lauer that while they may someday be able to forgive Zimmerman, “forgiveness is like a healing process. Forgiving takes time.”

Fulton and Martin were perhaps most emphatic on ABC’s Good Morning America. “As parents understanding how they reached the verdict, I’ll never grasp that concept,” Martin said. “Just as loving parents and God-fearing people, we just continue to pray that whatever was in their heart was what they intended to do. But we didn’t feel it was fair and, of course, it was devastating.”

He added that he wished the jury had gotten a chance to know more about his son: “They didn’t know him as a human being, a very decent human being, a fun-loving kid. He loved kids.”

The bottom line, in Fulton’s words: The verdict sends a “terrible message to other little black and brown boys … They can’t walk fast. They can’t walk slow. So what do they do? How do they get home without people assuming you are doing something wrong? Trayvon wasn’t doing anything wrong.”

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