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Barack Obama gives a message of hope during town hall meeting

“I want you to know that you matter,” he said directly to people of color. “I want you to know that your lives matter. That your dreams matter.”

Barack Obama Getty Images

On Wednesday (June 3), Former President Barack Obama held “Reimagining Policing In The Wake of Continued Police Violence,” a virtual town hall meeting to discuss the current climate of America following the killing of George Floyd.

Obama said that the horrific recent events, while “difficult and scary and uncertain,” also stand for “an incredible opportunity for people to be awakened to some of the underlying trends” of systematic racism in this country. “They offer an opportunity for us to work together to tackle them, to take them on, to change America and make it live up to its highest ideals,” he said.

The 44th president then spoke to families who have been affected by violence such as the families of Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and many others. “Please know that Michelle and I, and the nation grieve with you, hold you in our prayers,” he said. “We’re committed to the fight of creating a more just nation in the memory of your sons and daughters.”

Obama then spoke to people of color as he said, “I want to speak directly to the young men and women of color in this country who have witnessed too much violence and too much death…I want you to know that you matter. I want you to know that your lives matter. That your dreams matter.”

Earlier this week, Obama penned out some thoughts on how people can make real change in this world and channel their energy into definite action. “As millions of people across the country take to the streets and raise their voices in response to the killing of George Floyd and the ongoing problem of unequal justice, many people have reached out asking how we can sustain momentum to bring about real change,” he wrote.

“The elected officials who matter most in reforming police departments and the criminal justice system work at the state and local levels,” the former president continued. “It’s mayors and county executives that appoint most police chiefs and negotiate collective bargaining agreements with police unions. It’s district attorneys and state’s attorneys that decide whether or not to investigate and ultimately charge those involved in police misconduct.”

Watch below to see clips of Obama’s speech during the town hall meeting.

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