*On Sunday, former secretary of State Colin Powell says the jury verdict that cleared the George Zimmerman of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin’s death was “questionable” and called for President Obama to speak more on issues of race.
Powell said on CBS’ Face the Nation that the Martin/Zimmerman verdict soon would be forgotten but Obama, like all presidents, has a responsibility to discuss the nation’s history of racial injustice. Powell’s words came at the same time Washington is marking the 50th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington that featured Martin Luther King Jr.’s iconic “I Have a Dream” speech.
“If Dr. King was here, I’m quite sure he would say, ‘Congratulations on all the progress that’s been made, but let’s keep going. The dream is not fully achieved yet,’” said Powell, also the first African American to serve the nation as secretary of state.
After a Florida jury found George Zimmerman acted in self-defense, Powell questioned the impact Martin’s death has on the civil rights movement. acted in self-defense and acquitted him during a criminal trial.
“I think that it will be seen as a questionable judgment on the part of the judicial system down there, but I don’t know if it will have staying power,” Powell said. “These cases come along and they blaze across the midnight sky and then after a period of time, they’re forgotten.”
That doesn’t mean Obama should keep silent, though, Powell said.
“I’d like to see him be more passionate about race questions,” Powell said of Obama, whom he endorsed during the 2008 and 2012 presidential election.
“For the president to speak out on it is appropriate. I think all leaders, black and white, should speak out on this issue,” the Republican added.
Watch Colin Powell’s comments: