Former US President Barack Obama addressed protestors and young people of color in America in an empowering message. Tanzia Haq reports.
On Wednesday, Barack Obama joined over Zoom at a virtual town hall event organized by the My Brother’s Keeper alliance, a program of the Obama Foundation. At the event, called “Reimagining Policing in the Wake of Continued Police Violence”, the first African American president of the US said voting and protest are not opposing forces but rather what can be done together to initiate change in a democracy.
He said: “Part of what’s made me hopeful is the fact that so many young people have been galvanized and activated, motivated and mobilized. Because historically, so much of the progress we have made in our society has been because of young people.”
He added for young activists of colour: “I want you to know that you matter, your lives matter and your dreams matter.”
Obama’s statements come as a direct contrast to the divisive rhetoric from current president Donald Trump since the protests broke out on 26 May. Obama expressed hope and optimism for young people of color in the US despite the brutal killing of George Floyd in police custody while Trump has been losing support among his constituents for his poor leadership in this crisis.
Obama also honored the policemen who have joined in the protests saying, “I want to acknowledge the folks in law enforcement that share the goals of reimagining policing.” He further urged police reforms, asking mayors of cities to revise their policing policies.
Obama also said: “You’ve communicated a sense of urgency that is as powerful and as transformative as anything that I’ve seen in recent years.”