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Former President Barack Obama published a piece on Medium addressing the protests nationwide following the death of George Floyd — and, specifically, how he thinks people can move forward to “sustain momentum to bring about real change.”
“Ultimately, it’s going to be up to a new generation of activists to shape strategies that best fit the times,” he wrote. “But I believe there are some basic lessons to draw from past efforts that are worth remembering.”
The article goes on to state the following:
His message overall put forth the importance of voting and participating in politics, particularly at the local level, where decisions on ground-level criminal justice and police practices are formed.
Obama announced his op-ed on Twitter Monday morning, tweeting, “I wrote out some thoughts on how to make this moment a real turning point to bring about real change––and pulled together some resources to help young activists sustain the momentum by channeling their energy into concrete action.”
I wrote out some thoughts on how to make this moment a real turning point to bring about real change––and pulled together some resources to help young activists sustain the momentum by channeling their energy into concrete action. https://t.co/jEczrOeFdv
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) June 1, 2020
Obama began his op-ed with the following:
As millions of people across the country take to the streets and raise their voices in response to the killing of George Floyd and the ongoing problem of unequal justice, many people have reached out asking how we can sustain momentum to bring about real change.
Ultimately, it’s going to be up to a new generation of activists to shape strategies that best fit the times. But I believe there are some basic lessons to draw from past efforts that are worth remembering.
First, the waves of protests across the country represent a genuine and legitimate frustration over a decades-long failure to reform police practices and the broader criminal justice system in the United States. The overwhelming majority of participants have been peaceful, courageous, responsible, and inspiring. They deserve our respect and support, not condemnation — something that police in cities like Camden and Flint have commendably understood.
Obama claimed the violence was only committed by a small percentage of the protesters. He wrote, “the small minority of folks who’ve resorted to violence in various forms, whether out of genuine anger or mere opportunism, are putting innocent people at risk, compounding the destruction of neighborhoods that are often already short on services and investment and detracting from the larger cause.”
“So let’s not excuse violence, or rationalize it, or participate in it. If we want our criminal justice system, and American society at large, to operate on a higher ethical code, then we have to model that code ourselves,” he added.
“If we want to bring about real change, then the choice isn’t between protest and politics. We have to do both. We have to mobilize to raise awareness, and we have to organize and cast our ballots to make sure that we elect candidates who will act on reform,” Obama declared.
BREAKING: Former Pres. Barack Obama publishes an essay addressing the protests following the death of George Floyd—and, specifically, how he thinks people can move forward to “sustain momentum to bring about real change.” https://t.co/rWvmiMmN7u pic.twitter.com/kleNre7SNq
— ABC News (@ABC) June 1, 2020
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