Obama responds to Zimmerman verdict - New York News

Obama responds to Zimmerman verdict, UST law professor to speak Sunday

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  • President Obama comments on Trayvon Martin, Zimmerman verdict

    President Obama comments on Trayvon Martin, Zimmerman verdict

    Friday, July 19 2013 8:28 PM EDT2013-07-20 00:28:29 GMT
    In a rare and public reflection on race, President Barack Obama called on the nation Friday to do some soul searching over the death of Trayvon Martin and the acquittal of his shooter, saying the slain black teenager "could have been me 35 years ago." Empathizing with the pain of many black Americans, Obama said the case conjured up a hard history of racial injustice "that doesn't go away."
    In a rare and public reflection on race, President Barack Obama called on the nation Friday to do some soul searching over the death of Trayvon Martin and the acquittal of his shooter, saying the slain black teenager "could have been me 35 years ago." Empathizing with the pain of many black Americans, Obama said the case conjured up a hard history of racial injustice "that doesn't go away."
MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) -

In a personal, emotional speech, the country's first African American president called for better training to end racial profiling, a reconsidering of stand your ground laws and ways to empower the country's African American boys following the trial of George Zimmerman.

OBAMA QUOTABLES

"When Trayvon Martin was shot, I said, ‘This could have been my son.' Another way of saying that is, Trayvon could have been me," he said.

"There are few African American men who haven't had the experience of being followed when they were shopping at department store, including me."

"The African American community is looking at this through a set of experiences that doesn't go away."

"The African American community also knows there's a history of racial disparities in the applications of our laws."

RESPECT THE VERDICT

President Obama said the country should respect Zimmerman's not guilty verdict because that's how the justice system works, but that white Americans should also understand that African Americans are in pain over Martin's death and continue to face racial discrimination.

"I think President Obama did something that is important in this moment in our history," Nekima Levy-Pounds, an associate law professor at the University of St. Thomas, said. She has an 11-year-old son named Trayvon.

"To have the president say, yes I'm in the White House, however, I have experienced those same things and Trayvon was me 35 years ago -- I think is really powerful," Levy-Pound said.

BRIDGING THE GAP

Levy-Pounds says having the president share his own experiences as a black man in America should help bridge the country's lingering racial divide.

"For him to be willing to take such a courageous stand is powerful and positive and will help push us as a nation in the right direction," she said.

Obama also called on the country's families, workplaces and communities of faith to have frank conversations about race.

In her own response to the Zimmerman acquittal, Levy-Pounds will lead a discussion at First Covenant Church Minneapolis on Sunday at 6 p.m.

For more information, visit: http://1stcov.org/

 

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