After addressing the verdict of George Zimmerman over the weekend in a brief statement, President Barack Obama spoke at greater lengths earlier today regarding the trial and its racial implications, and zeroed in on the killing of Trayvon Martin as well – comparing himself to the 17-year-old at one point.
President Obama and Press Secretary Jay Carney addressed a small pool of reporters and after some light banter, speaking without notes at his surprise appearance, the president turned the conversation towards the Zimmerman case after acknowledging the other pressing matters, such as Detroit’s financial issues, that are crossing his desk.
From a transcript of the briefing by way of Ebony.com:
You know, when Trayvon Martin was first shot, I said that this could have been my son. Another way of saying that is Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago. And when you think about why, in the African- American community at least, there’s a lot of pain around what happened here, I think it’s important to recognize that the African- American community is looking at this issue through a set of experiences and a history that — that doesn’t go away.
Obama continued talking about his shared experiences of being young, Black and profiled, speaking freely on the racial tensions that arose before and after the Zimmerman verdict was released last Saturday. The president also denounced any violent protests, saying that such actions “dishonors” the memory of Trayvon Martin and his family.
Watch President Barack Obama’s full remarks here:
The president introduced a series of potential discussions regarding law enforcement and on the state and local level, asking that the Justice Department, which is reviewing the Zimmerman case, look at ways to strengthen trust in the community.
Obama ended his portion of the briefing by acknowledging more has to be done for African-American youth, especially boys who are plagued by the lack of resources and attention in their respective areas.