- Barack Obama called on demonstrators to channel their anger over George Floyd's death into an opportunity to make leaders uncomfortable
- He asked them to take the opportunity to pressure people in power into making real policy changes
- The town hall was hosted by the Obama Foundation's My Brother's Keeper Alliance, which supports young men of colour
- Obama also urged every mayor in the country to review their use of force policies with their communities
- He compared current protests to the unrest of the 1960s saying polls showed a majority of Americans support the current demonstrations
Former President Barack Obama on Wednesday, June 3, joined a virtual town hall to advocate the kind of hope and change that once inspired the nation to twice elect him as its leader.
The 44th president declared that despite the tragic death of George Floyd he remained optimistic because so many young people were getting galvanized and motivated.
Addressing Floyd's death, he said that the moment was politically advantageous for protesters who are calling for widespread police reforms and large-scale institutional change.
"To bring about real change, we both have to highlight a problem and make people in power uncomfortable," Obama said.
“But we also have to translate that into practical solutions and laws that can be implemented," he added.
In previous speeches, Obama had been offering veiled condemnation of President Donald Trump’s administration for its response to the coronavirus outbreak.
But in this particular address, NBC News reported he offered counsel as protest continues across the nation amid the pandemic
"I want to speak directly to the young men and women of colour...I want you to know that you matter. I want you to know that your lives matter. That your dreams matter," he said.
The former president observed that most of the changes needed for better and safer policing, such as barring the use of strangleholds, will have to happen at the local level.
The town hall was hosted by the Obama Foundation's My Brother's Keeper Alliance, which supports young men of colour.
Obama said he rejected a debate that had emerged in “a little bit of chatter on the internet" about voting versus protests, politics and participation versus civil disobedience and direct action.”
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