President Obama just commented on the Trayvon Martin case less than 24 hours after the divisive George Zimmerman verdict. His poweful reaction is a follow-up to statements he made last year on the case and may offer the U.S. much needed direction in this time of unrest.
Obama’s response to the Zimmerman trial was highly anticipated, especially given the President’s remarks over the death of Trayvon Martin in March 2012, in which the country’s first African American president spoke rather candidly and with heartfelt words that resonated with families across America.
Back in March 2012, President Obama delivered what is perhaps one of the most memorable lines of his presidency in regards to race relations. “You now, if I had a son he’d look like Trayvon. I think they are right to expect that all of us, as of Americans, are going to take this with the seriousness it deserves and we’re going to get to the bottom of what happened.”
You can watch Obama's full statement on Trayvon Martin's death from March 2012 below.
The March 2012 comments were powerful and helped ignite further discussion on why Martin was shot and killed that night. Just two days after President Obama commented on George Zimmerman’s killing of Trayvon Martin, a Howard University campaign titled “Am I Suspicious” showed African American students standing up against racial profiling.
The above Trayvon Martin-inspired campaign went viral.
And despite White House Press Secretary Jay Carney recent assertion that the President was monitoring the George Zimmerman verdict on Thursday, on Sunday afternoon Obama surprised many with an unexpected message tinged with sadness over the death of Trayvon Martin.
Obama reacted to the George Zimmerman verdict Sunday afternoon:
“The death of Trayvon Martin was a tragedy. Not just for his family, or for any one community, but for America. I know this case has elicited strong passions. And in the wake of the verdict, I know those passions may be running even higher. But we are a nation of laws, and a jury has spoken. I now ask every American to respect the call for calm reflection from two parents who lost their young son. And as we do, we should ask ourselves if we’re doing all we can to widen the circle of compassion and understanding in our own communities. We should ask ourselves if we’re doing all we can do stem the tide of gun violence that claims too many lives across this country on a daily basis. We should ask ourselves, as individuals and as a society, how we can prevent future tragedies like this. As citizens, that’s a job for all of us. That’s the way to honor Trayvon Martin.”
The White House promoted President Obama's reaction via social media and led many legal experts to speculate if Obama's comments potentially signal greater involvement by the Department of Justice into the death of Trayvon Martin.
Many individuals across the nation are currently protesting the George Zimmerman verdict.