Former President Barack Obama penned an essay today focusing on making the protests over the death of George Floyd into a true turning point for change.
In the essay, titled, “How to Make this Moment the Turning Point for Real Change,” President Obama explained how local and state governments are where a heavier burden should be placed, as they are where policies are actually instituted and practiced.
“Tailoring reforms for each community will require local activists and organizations to do their research and educate fellow citizens in their community on what strategies work best,” Obama said. While he said people should still seek to elect the right people in federal government, direct impact is often closely tied to the results of local elections.
President Obama defended citizen’s right to protest saying, “The point of protest is to raise public awareness, to put a spotlight on injustice, and to make the powers that be uncomfortable,” Obama said. “It’s often only been in response to protests and civil disobedience that the political system has even paid attention to marginalized communities.” He condemned any form of violent protest, noting that repairing the damage could take years, especially since many small businesses that have been affected are already struggling to get by.
President Obama also encouraged people to vote more in local elections to try and make a truly meaningful change, and lamented the lack of young people voting in local politics, saying that many of these important elections are won or lost by mere hundreds of votes.
“Watching the heightened activism of young people in recent weeks, of every race and every station, makes me hopeful,” Obama said.