NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — It’s a tough talk parents of color have had to have — what to do when you encounter law enforcement.

For Tyrone Whitaker, it is to go “Yes, sir. No, sir.” Keep your hands on the wheel where the officer can see them.

“If parents haven’t had the conversation already, they should start having the conversation now,” Whitaker, who is a mentor at the Connecticut Violence Intervention Program.

Those conversations need to be held carefully, especially in the wake of Tyre Nichols’ beating death by Memphis officers.

“When instances like this occur, you know, it just takes year to build a building, and then seconds demolish the building or implode,” said Leonard Jahad, the executive director at the Connecticut Violence Intervention Program.

Watching video of Nichols’ beating can trigger racial trauma, which in turn can cause depression and stress. It’s why, experts say, it’s important for young Black children to be surrounded by parents and mentors who validate those emotions.

“Some of the experiences that they end up encountering is called ‘vicarious trauma,’ where they’ve seen it repeatedly and they start to think and expect those actions to occur,” said Dr. Ralph Dodd, the regional director of collegiate counseling, in partnership with Quinnipiac University.

He said adults need to approach conversations about law enforcement carefully.

“It’s a really delicate situation, because there’s some law enforcement officers that really do a great job and they are here to protect, and we teach kids at a very young age that if you know if you’re in danger, you reach out to a police officer, you reach out to a fireman, or someone in that position,” Dodd said. “It’s important that we don’t lose sight of that when we do educate, while offering the counter, and saying there are going to be those situations where things are not going to go well, and these are the protective measures you can take.”

Whitaker said that while instances of police brutality are difficult, young children of color shouldn’t give up.

“Violence doesn’t breed violence, and we don’t want that,” he said. “We don’t want everyone to get angry and feel like we have to go out here and breed violence to get answers. We do it with our intelligence. What we know, we go to these court houses, we protest. We do it the right way.”