Full transcript of Attorney General Eric Holder’s remarks at the NAACP Annual Convention in Orlando ,Fla., on July 16, 2013.
ATTORNEY GENERAL ERIC HOLDER: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. (Inaudible.) Thank you. (Inaudible.) Thank you. Thank you. (Cheers, applause.) Thank you. Thank you.
AUDIENCE MEMBERS: (Inaudible.)
ATTY GEN. HOLDER: I know you do. (Cheers, applause.) Well, thank you all for such a warm introduction. And thank you, Derrick, for those kind words. It is a pleasure for me to be here in Orlando today. And it's a privilege to join President Jealous, Chairman Brock, your national board of directors and my good friends Secretary Donovan and Secretary Sebelius in celebrating the NAACP's 104th annual convention and recommitting ourselves to your important work.
Now, I am proud to be in such good company this afternoon, among so many obvious friends, courageous civil rights leaders like Julian Bond -- (cheers, applause) -- and passionate men and women who have dedicated themselves to bringing our nation together, addressing common challenges and focusing attention on the problems and inequities that too many of our citizens continue to face.
Even as this convention proceeds, we are all mindful of the tragic and unnecessary shooting death of Trayvon Martin last year in Sanford, Florida, just a short distance from here, and we're also aware of the state trial that reached its conclusion on Saturday evening. Today I'd like to join President Obama in urging all Americans to recognize that, as he said, we are a nation of laws, and the jury has spoken.
I know the NAACP and its members are deeply are deeply -- and rightly -- concerned about this case, as passionate civil rights leaders, as engaged citizens and most of all as parents.
This afternoon I want to assure you of two things: I am concerned about this case and -- (cheers, applause) -- and as we confirmed last spring, the Justice Department has an open investigation into it.
Now -- (applause) -- while that inquiry is ongoing, I can promise that the Department of Justice will consider all available information before determining what action to take.
But independent of the legal determination that will be made, I believe this tragedy provides yet another opportunity for our nation to speak honestly -- honestly -- and openly about the complicated and emotional (sic), charged issues that this case has raised.
Years ago, some of these same issues drove my father to sit down with me to have a conversation -- which is no doubt familiar to many of you -- about how, as a young black man, I should interact with the police, what to say and how to conduct myself if I was ever stopped or confronted in a way that I thought was unwarranted.
Now I'm sure my father felt certain at that time that my parents' generation would be the last that had to worry about such things for their children.
Since those days, our country has indeed changed for the better. The fact that I stand before you as the 82nd attorney general of the United States, serving in the administration of our first African American president, proves that. Yet, for all the progress that we've seen, recent events demonstrate that we still have much more work to do and much further to go.