The Washington Times - July 19, 2013, 04:13PM

The Rev. Al Sharpton Friday called President Obama’s surprise remarks on the Trayvon Martin murder and its impact on American blacks “significant and much needed,” saying they helped prepare the ground for protests Mr. Sharpton is helping to organize around the country this weekend.

“I think he has set a tone for both direct action and needed dialogue,” Mr. Sharpton said in a statement after the president’s very personal remarks about how he reacted to the acquittal of neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman in the Florida trial last week.

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The MSNBC news host noted that Mr. Obama had also discussed the need to investigate the “stand your ground” laws in Florida and other states which some critics say contributed to the fatal encounter in February 2012.

“We intend to raise the issue of the ‘stand your ground’ laws that [the president] discussed today that must be revoked in Florida and across the country,” Mr. Sharpton said. “… We welcome the Department of Justice having a serious investigation into what happened in Sanford, Florida, on February 26, 2012.”

Mr. Sharpton said Trayvon Martin’s parents will be attending protests in New York and Florida Saturday that are being organized by the reverend’s National Action Network.