President Obama spoke to reporters in the Brady Briefing Room on Friday afternoon, expanding on his initial reaction to the George Zimmerman verdict. His speech, given without a teleprompter, ranged from his own personal experience with racial profiling, the stereotypes that plague African-American boys and men, and ended with a three-step call to action.
The president asked local governments to look at ways to reduce mistrust in their systems, state and local police officers to examine the effectiveness of their laws, and he asked the nation how we can change to ensure that African-American boys know that "their country cares about them and values them and is willing to invest in them."
On Saturday’s show, host Melissa Harris-Perry and her guests will discuss the significance of the president entering the briefing room and engaging in the dialogue about race prompted by the death of Trayvon Martin. (A full copy of the transcript can be found here.)
In the wake of the “not guilty” verdict in the George Zimmerman trial, protestors are focusing their attention on a possible Federal civil rights suit as well as finally bringing an end to Stand Your Ground laws (although the law was not used in Zimmerman's defense). Tomorrow, Harris-Perry will be joined by Ohio state senator (and candidate for Ohio Secretary of State) Nina Turner, author Tim Wise, Christina Swarns of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund along with The Cycle co-host Ari Melber to discuss the implications of the controversial law in the context of the George Zimmerman trial--and that of jailed mom Marissa Alexander and the forthcoming trial in the shooting death of teenager Jordan Davis.
Also, "This Week In Voter Suppression" is back this Saturday! This time, all eyes are on Congress as it begins to reconstruct the formula to determine which states are covered under pre-clearance. The Senate heard testimony from Rep. John Lewis, one of the original Freedom Riders, while the House heard from Hans von Spakovsky, the man who helped lead the charge for new voter ID laws. Our show will discuss the future of voter ID laws in the hands of Congress and on a local level looking to Pennsylvania where lawyers have brought a suit to the Commonwealth Courts to overturn the voter ID law passed in the spring of last year.