President Obama on Thursday commemorated the third anniversary of the death of Trayvon Martin, the 17-year-old black high school student shot dead in Florida by a neighborhood watch volunteer.
“Today on the third anniversary of Trayvon Martin’s death, showing all of our kids, all of them, every single day, that their lives matter — that’s part of our task,” Obama said during a White House reception for Black History Month that was attended by Martin’s parents.
“Progress in this nation happens only because seemingly ordinary people find the courage to stand up for what is right, not just when it’s easy but when it’s hard,” Obama said.
Earlier this week, officials announced that the Justice Department would not file civil rights charges against George Zimmerman in the fatal 2012 shooting of Martin, saying it did not find sufficient evidence. Zimmerman, who said he killed Martin in self-defense, was acquitted in a Florida trial.
After Zimmerman’s acquittal in 2013, Obama made a surprise appearance at a White House press briefing where he empathized with black Americans outraged by the decision.