Barack Obama To Young, Black Americans: You Matter, Your Lives Matter, Your Dreams Matter
History and Black Lives Matter are words that have been sweeping across the nation more and more as of late, urgently drawing attention to the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and many more. People are coming together like never before, protesting and rallying in various ways for justice in these cases.
Among celebrities, influencers, and other social media users voicing how they feel about these cases and ushering us to keep fighting, former president Barack Obama remotely attended a town hall with other community leaders and delivered an inspiring and supportive speech to young protesters and anyone in the world who is affected.
In his 15-minute statement, Barack Obama starts by letting viewers know he’s right there with them, feeling the hurt and the anger towards what’s going on right now.
He then continues to deliver this message to young black Americans:
“I want you to know that you matter, I want you to know that your lives matter, that your dreams matter,”
He went on to list the things Black people should be able to do but can’t due to worrying about losing their life:
“You should be able to learn and make mistakes and live a life of joy without having to worry about what’s going to happen when you walk to the store or go for a jog or are driving down the street or looking at some birds in a park.”
Barack Obama then explains how the young protesters are providing him with hope during all of this:
“Part of what’s made me so hopeful is the fact that so many young people have been galvanized and activated and motivated and mobilized. Because historically, so much of the progress that we’ve made in our society has been because of young people. Dr. King was a young man when he got involved, Cesar Chavez was a young man. Malcolm X was a young man. That the leaders of the feminist movement were young people. Leaders of union movements were young people. The leaders of the environmental movement in this country and the movement to make sure that the LGBT community finally had a voice and was represented where young people.”
Barack closes out leaving us and government officials with some steps to further change. He also highlights other organizations to support/ reach out to. He said:
“Let me just close with a couple of specific things. What can we do? Number one, we know there are specific evidence based reforms that if we put in place today would build trust, save lives would not show an increase in crime. Those are included in the 21st Century Policing Task Force Report. You can find it on Obama.org. Number two, a lot of mayors and local elected officials read and supported the task force report, but then there wasn’t enough follow up. So today, I am urging every mayor in this country to review your use of force policies for members of your community and commit to report on planned reforms.
What are the specific steps you can take? And I should add, by the way, that the original task force report was done several years ago; since that time, we’ve actually collected data in part because we implemented some of these reform ideas. So we now have more information and more data as to what works. And there are organizations like Campaign Zero and Color of Change and others that are out there highlighting what the data shows, what works, what doesn’t in terms of reducing incidents of police misconduct and violence. Let’s go ahead and start implementing those. So we need mayors, county executives, others who are in positions of power to say, this is a priority. This is a specific response. Number three, every city in this country should be a My Brother’s Keeper community because we have 250 cities, counties, tribal nations who are working to reduce the barriers and expand opportunity for boys and young men of color through programs and policy reforms, public-private partnerships. So go to our website, get working with that because it can make a difference.”
See his full address below:
How do you feel about Barack Obama’s comments? Let us know in the comments.
Written By: @a.girlwhowrites