George Zimmerman

As soon as he made his remarks on race Friday, President Obama was part of an intense conversation around the nation.

In dozens of cities across the country on Saturday, protesters held coordinated rallies and vigils over the not-guilty verdict in the shooting death of unarmed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Fla. Many African-Americans insist that understanding the context for black distress over the Zimmerman verdict is key to honest discussions about race.

(This story last updated at 3:00 p.m. EDT)

Hundreds of people across the country attended "Justice For Trayvon" rallies calling for civil rights charges against George Zimmerman in the wake of his acquittal a week ago in the fatal shooting of black teen Trayvon Martin.

The Rev. Al Sharpton's National Action Network organized the events following last Saturday's verdict in Sanford, Fla., in which six jurors accepted Zimmerman's claim of self-defense during a scuffle with Martin in February 2012.

President Obama broke his silence on the Trayvon Martin shooting case Friday, speaking publicly for the first time since a Florida jury acquitted George Zimmerman.

Obama didn't question the jury's not-guilty verdict, but he spoke in unusually personal terms about the history and experiences that shape the way African-Americans in particular see the case.

He spoke frankly about the pain the Trayvon Martin case has left, especially in the African-American community. He said that's a product of a common history that doesn't go away.

The days are few and far between when President Obama has intentionally reminded us that he is the first African-American president.

Friday was one.

The president did something no other holder of his office has ever had the life experience to do: He used the bully pulpit to, as an African-American, explain black America to white America in the wake of last week's acquittal of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin.

(Click here for updates we added after this post was published.)

In the days after a Florida jury acquitted George Zimmerman in the killing of teenager Trayvon Martin, protesters camped out at Gov. Rick Scott's office in Tallahassee, calling for a meeting.

When Scott met with protesters on Thursday, one of the group's leaders, Philip Agnew, asked the governor to convene a special session of the Legislature to look at repealing the state's stand your ground law.

"It is the time for leadership," Agnew said. "The world is watching. Most definitely, the nation is watching. And you have the opportunity to stand tall above the rest."

President Obama's statement in the White House briefing room on July 19, as released by the White House:

"When Trayvon Martin was first shot, I said that this could have been my son," President Obama told reporters Friday afternoon. "Another way of saying that is Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago."

In the popular imagination and in conventional discourse — especially in the context of highly charged news events such as the shooting of Trayvon Martin — prejudice is all about hatred and animosity.

Bay News 9

Stevie Wonder's message is about 5,000 signatures short of being signed, sealed and delivered to Tallahassee.

A day after George Zimmerman's acquittal in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, the singer announced during a concert in Quebec City that he wouldn't perform in Florida until the state's Stand Your Ground law is abolished.

More than 10,000 people have followed Wonder's lead, signing a MoveOn.org petition to boycott Florida until the self-defense law is repealed.

"How can you let the killer of an unarmed teen go free? What would your verdict ... have been had it been your child?"

That's what Trayvon Martin's father said when asked by Matt Lauer to address the jury that acquitted George Zimmerman in the shooting death of their 17-year-old son.

As I was heading home the other day, I was thinking about a situation I encountered a while ago when I landed back in the Washington, D.C., area after a trip.

I was hungry and saw that one of my favorite lunch spots had opened an outpost at the airport. So I ducked in there and was just about to order when I realized that a young woman standing next to me was having some sort of confrontation. It was loud, and getting louder.

Four women who served on the jury that acquitted George Zimmerman are distancing themselves from Juror B37, the anonymous woman who gave an extensive interview to CNN about the case.

Saying that "it's time to question laws that senselessly expand the concept of self-defense and sow dangerous conflict in our neighborhoods," Attorney Gen. Eric Holder on Tuesday called for a reexamination of so-called stand your ground laws.

Of Hoodies And Lost Time

Jul 16, 2013

The Code Switch team came across this blog post by Sam Sanders, our colleague at NPR. We thought it spoke to the resignation so many people felt following Trayvon Martin's shooting. Sam was kind enough to let us share it here.

There are obviously more provocative things being written and said about the death of Trayvon Martin and the acquittal of George Zimmerman than we could ever hope to keep up with.

Book News: Zimmerman Juror Drops Book Plans

Jul 16, 2013

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

Late into the night on Monday, after a round of violent protests ripped through Los Angeles in response to the acquittal of George Zimmerman, Mayor Eric Garcetti called for calm.

The Los Angeles Times reports that by the time the sun came up, at least 13 people had been arrested after police say they began breaking windows and stopping traffic.

Attorney General Eric Holder looked out over a sea of women in red on Monday and invoked his wife, a member of the influential African-American sorority Delta Sigma Theta. Holder was addressing the sorority's national convention in its centennial year.

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