President Obama commented on the Trayvon Martin case on Sunday, which ended Saturday night with a “not guilty” verdict for George Zimmerman, who was under trial for the death of the Florida teen. The verdict prompted a night of protests, a petition from the NAACP calling to file civil rights charges against Zimmerman, and an outpouring of grief from politicians and celebrities, alike.
But Obama, who last year famously said, “If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon,” on Sunday called for compassion and understanding:
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 to 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.
Prachi Gupta is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on pop culture. Follow her on Twitter at @prachigu or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.More Prachi Gupta.