“The reason I actually wanted to come out today is not to take questions, but to speak to an issue that obviously has gotten a lot of attention over the course of the last week, the issue of the Trayvon Martin ruling…”
Without a teleprompter and free from notes, President Obama stood in front of a room full of reporters and weighed in on Trayvon Martin‘s Case. All the elephants in the room were addressed.
After weeks of reporters wondering why the President had not spoken about the highly publicized case, Obama dove into deeply personal speech about the George Zimmerman verdict, the death of the black teenager and the unrest which has stemmed from the issue. Speaking off the cuff, Obama mentioned that it would be “useful” to review the “stand your ground” laws as well as to renew efforts aimed to help black boys in America. But the most compelling part of the speech was one that did not necessarily seek solutions.
While not rejecting nor expressing any explicit opinons on the case’s final verdict, the President — an African-American man himself — made it a point to talk about his experiences with racism in America. In perhaps the most poignant part of his personal address, Obama said, “Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago.”
First of all, you know, I — I want to make sure that, once again, I send my thoughts and prayers, as well as Michelle’s, to the family of Trayvon Martin, and to remark on the incredible grace and dignity with which they’ve dealt with the entire situation. I can only imagine what they’re going through, and it’s — it’s remarkable how they’ve handled it.And 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. That happens to me, at least before I was a senator. There are very few African-Americans who haven’t had the experience of getting on an elevator and a woman clutching her purse nervously and holding her breath until she had a chance to get off. That happens often.
The Martin family has since expressed their gratitude for President Obama’s sincere address.
Read the entire transcript below: