Obama Meets, Legitimizes Black Lives Matter

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Photo credits:  Brittany Packnett of Black Lives Matter listens as Barak Obama addresses the media during the meeting at the White House. Photograph: Carolyn Kaster/AP

From THE GUARDIAN | by Jamiles Lartey

Barack Obama praised young Black Lives Matter activists in the White House on Thursday, taking special notice of prominent Ferguson protesters and describing the meeting as a moment to bridge differences in a younger, changing civil rights movement.

“They are much better organizers than I was when I was their age, and I am confident that they are going to take America to new heights,” Obama said of Brittany Packnett, DeRay Mckesson and other young protest leaders.

“The degree of focus and seriousness and constructiveness” they show reminded him of older, existing civil rights organizations, he added.

According to the White House, the meeting to bring young Black Lives Matter protesters together with long-time leaders from the civil rights movement was the “first of its kind”.

The panel, which included the Rev Al Sharpton and congressman John Lewis, was convened to discuss the administration’s efforts to reform the criminal justice system, as well as the process of building trust between law enforcement and communities.

Both issues disproportionately affect black Americans, who are more likely to be incarcerated, experience police brutality or be killed by the police than are white Americans.

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