First lady Michelle Obama said on Monday that the death of Florida teen Trayvon Martin should be part of larger, long-term discussions about the issues facing American communities.
“Conversations have to be forever. You know, they can't come in spits and starts when there's an incident,” the first lady told NPR when asked if Martin’s death could lead to a constructive national discussion. The NPR interview was first broadcast on Tuesday.
“I think we all need, as a country, to continue to talk about these issues, to understand our communities and the challenges that we face, which are different and unique depending upon where you live,” Obama said. Because America is so diverse, she said, “our challenges are complex.” She did not specify what those "issues" or "challenges" might be.
Martin was shot and killed in February by neighborhood watch member George Zimmerman. The unarmed, African-American teenager’s death has prompted rallies and protests across the country, and has sparked debates over racism and gun ownership.
The first lady also said that her “heart goes out” to Trayvon’s grieving parents. “We all as parents understand the tragedy of that kind of loss,” she said.
President Obama commented on Martin's killing last month, saying if he'd had a son, "he'd look like Trayvon."