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The issues of systemic racism and police violence which protesters have been filling American streets over since the murder of George Floyd are connected to America’s long history of racial oppression and its “original sin” of slavery, but now is an opportunity to solve these problems, according to former president Barack Obama, who also reminded that the nation remains in the grip of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Protests have been on the march in Minneapolis, Minn., and across the country since the May 25 killing of African American George Floyd in the custody of Minneapolis police officers.
Floyd’s death was witnessed by bystanders and recorded on video which captured his last moments of life with Derek Chauvin’s knee pressed dangerously into Floyd’s neck.
Protesters have been demanding justice and reform ever since, with some demonstrations turning violent.
Former president Barack Obama earlier published an essay about the Floyd murder, and Wednesday held a “virtual town hall.”
“Our nation and the world are still in the midst of a global pandemic that’s exposed the vulnerabilities of our health care system, but also the disparate treatment and, as a consequence, the disparate impact that exists in our health care system, the unequal investment, the biases that have led to a disproportionate number of infections and loss of life in communities of color,” Obama said. “In a lot of ways, what has happened over the last several weeks is challenges and structural problems here in the United States have been thrown into high relief.
“They are the outcomes not just of the immediate moments in time, but they’re the result of a long history of slavery and Jim Crow and redlining and institutionalized racism that too often have been the plague, this original sin of our society,” the former president added. “And in some ways, as tragic as these past few weeks have been, as difficult and scary and uncertain as they’ve been, they’ve also been an incredible opportunity for people to be awakened to some of these underlying trends.
“They offer an opportunity for us to all work together to tackle them, to take them on, to change America,” Obama said.
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