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President Obama Makes Historic Public Speech on Trayvon Martin Controversy

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Rev. Al Sharpton mobilizing 100-city protest across the U.S. this weekend

By BVN Staff

The ongoing controversy over the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the death of Trayvon Martin, a black 17-year-old teenager, took an unexpected turn today when President Obama held a press briefing to confront the concerns and civil unrest since a not-guilty verdict was reached on July 13.

During the briefing, Obama acknowledged the concerns of many Americans, particularly African-Americans, who felt Zimmerman’s acquittal in the case was unjust. Obama addressed the frustrations of the African-American community regarding race relations and also said Martin could have been him – a compelling admission compared with his statement more than a year ago that Martin could have been his son.

“You know, when Trayon Martin was first shot, I said that this could have been my son. Another way of saying that is Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago,” he said.

The briefing marked Obama's first public statements on the Martin and Zimmerman controversy. He released an initial statement regarding the ruling on Sunday.

Obama’s statements came ahead of several vigils and protests expected this weekend in cities across the U.S., including two protests that will include Martin’s family. His mother, Sybrina, will join Rev. Al Sharpton outside of the New York City Police Department Headquarters and his father, Tracy, will be at a separate vigil in Miami.

Sharpton and his followers are organizing a 100-city protest this weekend at federal buildings across the U.S.

Following Obama’s comments today, Sharpton released a statement saying in part, “I think the President’s remarks were significant and much needed, and as we prepare to coordinate vigils in one hundred cities tomorrow with the parents of Trayvon Martin, I think he has set a tone for both direct action and needed dialogue.”

In anticipation of the vigils and protests, Obama urged peace and non-violence to honor Martin and his family.

Continue to follow BVN as we update coverage of the Trayvon Martin protests and vigils.

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