Indiana Black Expo celebs, Obama comment on Trayvon Martin
The president said he supports a review of so-called "stand your ground" laws, even though that law was not invoked in the Zimmerman trial. Obama's appearance was a surprise, and he spoke about why the case has prompted such a strong response from the African-American community.
"When Trayvon Martin was shot, I said he could have been my son. Another way of saying that - Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago," he said.
"There are very few African-American men in this country who haven't had the experience of being followed when they were shopping in a department store, and that includes me. 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 happened to me before I was a senator," he said.
The president's comments come as Indianapolis hosts the Indiana Black Expo Summer Celebration.
Several African-American celebrities here for the Indiana Black Expo are also talking about the case.
"Stand your ground, the stuff is rigged and laws are rigged so we end up being the majority population in the prison system," said Spike Lee, filmmaker.
"I always tell my son - don't be afraid to be who you are," said Dominique Wilkins, former NBA player.
The president, meantime, called for some "soul-searching" following Zimmerman's acquittal.
"Once the jury's spoken, that's how our system works," he said. Obama added that he does see race relations in the United States getting better, citing his own daughters' interactions with their friends.
Obama wondered aloud how to draw positive lessons from the case, saying the country needs to look for ways to bolster African-American boys.