With the country in dismay, Americans are searching for a leader to provide words of solace and clarity. Although he's not the President anymore, Barack Obama decided to pen a piece on Medium in hopes of providing guidance for those seeking to have a lasting impact.
"I wrote out some thoughts on how to make this moment a real turning point to bring about real change––and pulled together some resources to help young activists sustain the momentum by channeling their energy into concrete action," Obama said in a tweet on Monday linking to the article.
Titled: How to Make This Moment the Turning Point for Real Change, Obama's piece includes personal advice for the "new generation of activists" who have started to come into their own during these protests. He explains that the best way to increase empathy for Black people in America is to build a system where that is the focal point.
"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 writes.
The former President also addressed the ongoing protests and their participants. To him, these demonstrations represent "genuine and legitimate frustration." Yet, he believes that most of the activists are "peaceful, courageous, responsible" people who deserve "respect and support, not condemnation." He recognizes that there are factions of people in the streets inciting violence which can hurt the overarching cause.
"On the other hand, the small minority of folks who’ve resorted to violence in various forms, whether out of genuine anger or mere opportunism, are putting innocent people at risk, compounding the destruction of neighborhoods that are often already short on services and investment and detracting from the larger cause," Barack writes. "So let’s not excuse violence, or rationalize it, or participate in it."
Obama finishes the piece by imploring people to organize and specify their thoughts. He says that the more detailed people can become with their demands, the more pressure they'll be putting on politicians who are merely offering "lip service" to stay in voters' good graces. Also, he thinks people should channel this anger into peaceful but impactful actions that will force the government to reform itself.
"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 concludes. "Let’s get to work."