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Barack Obama praises young George Floyd protesters in rallying speech

WASHINGTON — Former President Barack Obama on Wednesday addressed Americans peacefully protesting the death of George Floyd nationwide — saying he felt they were bringing genuine change in the United States.
“There is a change of mindset that is taking place, a greater recognition that we can do better,” Obama said, adding that the movement was not being brought about by politicians or by the media.
“That’s a direct result of the activities and organization and mobilization and engagement of so many young people across the country who put themselves out on the line to make a difference,” he continued.
Without addressing President Trump by name, Obama also called on protesters to “make people in power uncomfortable” as the nation reels from a week of violent clashes, mass looting and huge marches which have brought cities to a standstill.
The former president previously weighed in on the death of 46-year-old Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police last week, writing in a statement that differing treatment for millions of Americans was unacceptable.
“This shouldn’t be ‘normal’ in 2020 America. It can’t be ‘normal. If we want our children to grow up in a nation that lives up to its highest ideals, we can and must be better,” he wrote.
In his latest address, the 44th president called on mayors and local elected officials to review their use of force policies and said the enormous demonstrations nationwide were the result of “structural problems in the United States.”
“They are outcomes of not just immediate moments in time, but they’re the result of a long history of slavery and Jim Crow and redlining and institutionalized racism that have too often been the plague, the original sin of our society,” he said.
Obama said the mass mobilization of young people made him feel optimistic.
“In some ways, as tragic as these past few weeks have been, as difficult and scary and uncertain as they have been, they’ve also been an incredible opportunity for people to be awakened to some of these underlying trends,” he said.
The president also spoke of his My Brother’s Keeper Alliance, a nonprofit run by the Obama Foundation which aims to help opportunity-starved minority men, and called on cities across the country to align with them.
On Monday, he denounced those who went on violent rampages and looting sprees at the otherwise peaceful protests.

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