President Barack Obama has written an essay laying out how to make real change and calling for a stop to the violence in the time of the George Floyd protests.
“Let’s not excuse violence, or rationalize it, or participate in it. If we want our criminal justice system, and American society at large, to operate on a higher ethical code, then we have to model that code ourselves,” Obama wrote in an essay on Medium.
He wrote about turning anger over police brutality on black people into political and peaceful action and change.
“If going forward, we can channel our justifiable anger into peaceful, sustained, and effective action, then this moment can be a real turning point in our nation’s long journey to live up to our highest ideals,” he wrote. “Let’s get to work.”
“It falls on all of us, regardless of our race or station — including the majority of men and women in law enforcement who take pride in doing their tough job the right way, every day — to work together to create a “new normal” in which the legacy of bigotry and unequal treatment no longer infects our institutions or our hearts,” Obama wrote.
He said the protests show “a genuine and legitimate frustration,” and noted that protesters deserve “respect and support.”
“I recognize that these past few months have been hard and dispiriting—that the fear, sorrow, uncertainty, and hardship of a pandemic have been compounded by tragic reminders that prejudice and inequality still shape so much of American life,” Obama wrote. “But watching the heightened activism of young people in recent weeks, of every race and every station, makes me hopeful.”
“The bottom line is this: if we want to bring about real change, then the choice isn’t between protest and politics. We have to do both. We have to mobilize to raise awareness, and we have to organize and cast our ballots to make sure that we elect candidates who will act on reform.”