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POTUS calls Sterling and Castile's families before officers' memorial

Obama offered condolences on behalf of the American people.

Eric Gay // AP

President Barack Obama spoke today (July 12) at the interfaith memorial service of the five officers who were killed Thursday during a protest in Dallas. But on the way there, he put in a call to the families of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile as well.

Social influencers contribute thoughtful commentary on a week of painful events

According to the White House Press Secretary, Obama called from on board Air Force One to offer his and the First Lady's condolences on behalf of the American people for the death of their loved ones.

Valerie Castile confirmed to CNN that she spoke with the president. "He was very pleasant and spoke of his concerns, as well as Michelle, and that was awesome," she said.

At the memorial, Obama expressed grief for the officers who were slain, and reiterated his sympathy for Castile and Sterling, who were killed by police last week. He served as a bridge between the two seemingly disparate communities who are hurting.

"Faced with this violence we wonder if the divides of race in America can ever be breached. We wonder if an African-American community that feels unfairly targeted by police and police departments, that feel unfairly maligned for doing their jobs can ever understand each other's experience," Obama said. "We must reject such despair. I know how far we have come against impossible odds. I know we will make it because of what I have experienced in my own life, what I have seen of this country and its people."

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