(CNN)-- President Barack Obama spoke publicly for the first time Friday since George Zimmerman was found not guilty in the death of Trayvon Martin.
During a press conference, the president said that "Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago."
President also said that despite how "difficult and challenging" the Trayvon Martin shooting has been, "I don't want us to lose sight of the fact that things are getting better" regarding race issues.
He said each successive generation of Americans has gotten better at changing attitudes on race, but "we have to be vigilant and work on these issues."
The president also said that a perception of the Trayvon Martin killing exists in the African-American community that "if a white male teen was involved in the same scenario, top to bottom, both the outcome and the aftermath might have been different."
He went on to say that protest over the George Zimmerman verdict can work its way through as long as it remains non-violent.