Obama calls on protesters to channel anger into votes
"We have to mobilize to raise awareness, and we have to organize and cast our ballots to make sure that we elect candidates who will act on reform," former U.S. president Barack Obama said in a statement as referring to the ongoing protests over the death of a black man in police custody.
Former US president Barack Obama issued a statement addressing the ongoing protests over the death of a black man at the hands of police, calling for people to "channel our justifiable anger into peaceful, sustained, and effective action."
The first black president said people have to raise awareness about injustice, including through protests, but then translate this consciousness into increasing voter turnout and electing "government officials who are responsive to our demands."
Obama acknowledged that the demonstrations are a response to long-standing issues that have not been addressed by elected officials, while condemning violence and looting.
"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," he said.
Obama said there is a need to recognize the "ongoing, corrosive role that racism plays in our society" and enact reforms this address this, adding that "real change" was needed."
"We have to mobilize to raise awareness, and we have to organize and cast our ballots to make sure that we elect candidates who will act on reform," Obama wrote.
US President Donald Trump's administration over the weekend denied there is systemic racism. Obama did not mention Trump by name.
The Black Lives Matter movement, which arose amid a spate of killings of unarmed black men by police, took off when Obama was president.
In August, 2014, an 18-year-old black man, Michael Brown, was shot by police in Ferguson, Missouri. In New York a month earlier, Eric Garner, a black man, died while an officer had him in a choke-hold. There were no indictments of the white officers in either case.