Obama Praised Young US Protesters
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Former US president Barack Obama on Wednesday praised the “profound” protests by Americans demanding racial justice and said demonstrations over last week’s killing of a black man in police custody could hit nationwide reforms.
In his first video comments since George Floyd’s death on May 25 in Minneapolis outrage unrest across the country, Obama also urged state and local authorities to review their policies on the use of force.
He directed his comments at young black men and women who he says have often witnessed or experienced too much violence.
“Too often some of that violence has come from folks who were supposed to be serving and protecting you,” Obama said in a webcast with activists.
“I want you to know that you matter. I want you to know that your lives matter, your dreams matter.”
He also said that in the last few weeks, Americans have witnessed “the kinds of epic changes and events in our country that are as profound as anything that I’ve seen in my lifetime.”
The 58-year-old, who remains remarkable among Democrats, noted the deadly upheaval of the 1960s civil rights movement and said “a far more representative cross-section of America” is protesting now than as compared to half a century ago.
“There is a change in mindset that’s taking place, a greater recognition that we can do better,” Obama said.
Young protesters, in particular, have been forced to silence, he said, and their motivation could serve as inspiration for broader change than it is at the moment