Michelle Obama Says Her Heart Goes Out to Trayvon Martin’s Parents

The first lady believes the tragedy should be part of a long-term conversation about challenging issues.

Posted: 04/18/2012 10:17 AM EDT

First Lady Michelle Obama, in her first public comments on the shooting death of teenager Trayvon Martin, said that her “heart goes out to the parents” who’ve experienced a “tremendous loss.”


“We all as parents understand the tragedy of that kind of loss and I think that’s really the thing that most people connect to,” the first lady said in an NPR interview that aired on Tuesday. “And it’s important for us not to lose sight of the fact that this is a family that’s grieving and there’s been a tremendous loss. And we all have to rally around that piece of it.”


The incident has sparked a national dialogue on race, racism and racial profiling, but according to Obama that dialogue should be part of a long-term conversation about the challenges American communities face.


“Talking is good. Conversations have to be forever. You know, they can’t come in spits and starts when there’s an incident. 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 on where you live,” she said.


Obama added that because the nation is so diverse, its challenges are complex and there’s no “one-shot solution.”

“It is complicated. It takes time. It takes openness. It takes compassion. It takes patience,” she said. “And it takes a lot of work. So we should all be ready to roll up our sleeves and keep doing that work.”


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(Photo:  REUTERS/Larry Downing)