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President Obama On George Zimmerman Verdict: “Trayvon Martin Could Have Been Me”

Written By S. Samuel

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After days of emotional reactions from high-profile celebrities over George Zimmerman being acquitted for fatally shooting teenager Trayvon Martin, President Barack Obama has delivered some heartfelt words.

President Obama publicly spoke out on the verdict and even made a direct connection to the slain Florida resident.

“Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago,” the president said in the remarks, made Friday during a surprise appearance in the White House press room. Mr. Martin, a 17-year-old African-American, was shot and killed in Florida last year in a case that riveted millions of Americans and sparked debate over the state of race relations in the country. Saying he would leave arguments about the verdict to legal analysts, Mr. Obama didn’t critique last Saturday’s acquittal of George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watchman who faced various charges related to the killing. (Wall Street Journal)

He also used the widespread platform to acknowledge the struggle most African American men experience due to their race.

“There are very few African-American men who haven’t had the experience of walking across the street and hearing the locks click on the doors of cars,” Mr. Obama said. “That happens to me–at least before I was a senator.” The remarks, delivered without a teleprompter, were a striking example of America’s first black president seeking to guide the country’s thinking on race without inflaming racial tensions or undermining the judicial system. They also amounted to Mr. Obama’s most pointed comments about race since his 2008 presidential campaign. Mr. Obama issued a brief statement the day after the Martin verdict was handed down. He urged calm and compassion, noting that “a jury has spoken.” Missing, though, was any personal reflection from a president with a unique perspective on the matter. (Wall Street Journal)

A few days ago, Mobb Deep’s Prodigy said all Americans have to familiarize themselves with the legal system in the wake of Zimmerman’s acquittal.

Prodigy, also on Wednesday’s “RapFix,” said the responsibility to bring about change now falls on everyone, not just the African-American community. “Our people need to learn the laws — people, not just black people — need to learn the laws, learn the politics. Focus on what’s important,” he said. The Mobb Deep rapper, who was sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison on a gun charge back in 2007, stressed the importance of change, saying that it starts with the individual. “I could be more vocal about certain changes that need to be made, certain changes that I made in my life. ‘Starting with the man in the mirror,’ like Michael Jackson said,” he shared, referencing the King of Pop’s 1987 single. “If everybody does that, we’ll be a little step closer to a solution to this.” (MTV)

Following last weekend’s Zimmerman verdict, a Facebook page urging people not to support select Florida-based companies launched.

“Florida’s “Stand Your Ground Law” killed Trayvon Martin’s opportunity for justice. Stand Your Ground must be repealed and corporations based in Florida that profit from our patronage must stand with us against Stand Your Ground or we will make them pay in their pockets. Economic embargos and boycotts have worked to debilitate America’s unjust laws like Jim Crow and alienate and starve countries like Cuba. A focused, targeted and public economic embargo of Florida-based corporations will force them to take a stand against Stand Your Ground in their own interests, The following post list the top Florida-based corporations who rely upon your patronage and support.” (Boycott Florida)

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Written by S. Samuel

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