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Former Washington Journalist
Contributor on The Bipartisan Press
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While he tied the murder of African American George Floyd to America’s “original sin” of slavery, former president Barack Obama believes that the nation’s future will improve because of the involvement of so many young people in the ongoing protests in the wake of Floyd’s death.
Floyd was killed May 25 while in the custody of Minneapolis, Minn., police officers, particularly Derek Chauvin who kneeled heavily on Floyd’s neck right as he died.
Protesters have filled the nation’s streets ever since, looking for justice for Floyd’s murder but also broader reforms in the areas of systemic racism and police violence.
All four living former presidents have spoken out about Floyd’s death and the need for racial reform and healing.
In addition, Obama discussed the issues Thursday in a “virtual town hall.”
“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,” Obama said. “Dr. [Martin Luther] King was a young man when he got involved. Cesar Chavez was a young man. Malcolm X was a young man. 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 were young people.
“When sometimes I feel despair, I just see what’s happening with young people all across the country and the talent and the voice and the sophistication that they’re displaying, and it makes me feel optimistic. It makes me feel as if this country is going to get better,” the former president said.
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