Former US President Barack Obama has penned an essay in response to the global protests that have taken place in the wake of George Floyd’s death, sharing advice on creating real change.
The essay, How To Make This Moment the Turning Point for Real Change, detests the violence taking place and instead urges activists to make specific demands and work collaboratively with political systems.
“Let’s get to work”: Former US president Barack Obama has written an essay responding to the George Floyd protests, on using this turning point to create real change.
While President Trump has been uncharacteristically quiet in addressing the demands of the nation’s protestors following the tragic death of George Floyd, Obama has spoken out with some very useful advice.
In the Medium essay, Obama sets out three lessons that the upcoming generation of activists can draw from the past.
He acknowledges at the start of the essay that the “waves of protests across the country represent a genuine and legitimate frustration over a decades-long failure to reform police practices and the broader criminal justice system in the United States”.
However, he calls for activists not to resort to violence, as this is placing innocent people at risk and destroying vulnerable neighbourhoods that will take years to recuperate.
His second major point emphasises that the protests are not the only way to instigate change, but that voting and participation in the electoral system is also highly important. Obama writes that turning “aspirations… into specific laws and institutional practices” requires a government that is “responsive to our demands.”
Finally, he argues that activists need to make specific demands that suit their community, putting pressure on officials to do more than simply ‘pay lip service’ to the cause.
The essay finishes on a hopeful note, the former president stating that ” 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.
“Let’s get to work.”