Barack Obama has shared his advice on how to create real change following the death of George Floyd.
George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, died in Minneapolis last week, after police officer Derek Chauvin was filmed kneeling on his neck. It’s an image that no one will forget – and we shouldn’t. Because change needs to happen; systemic racism can’t continue to take black lives.
Barack Obama, the former president of the United States, has shared his guidance on what to do.
“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, I’ve heard many ask how we can sustain momentum to bring about real change,” Obama wrote on Twitter.
He continued: “Ultimately, it’s going to be up to a new generation of activists to shape strategies that best fit the times. But I want to highlight some basic lessons from past efforts that are worth remembering:
“1. The protests represent a genuine and legitimate frustration over a decades-long failure to reform police practices and the broader criminal justice system. We should condemn the few who resort to violence – not the overwhelming majority who deserve our respect and support.”
“2. The point of protest is to raise public awareness, to put a spotlight on injustice, and to make the powers that be uncomfortable. But eventually, we have to translate those aspirations into specific laws and institutional practices.
“3. To do that, we have to know which levels of government have the biggest impact. Changing the federal government is important. But the elected officials who matter most in reforming police departments and the criminal justice system work at the state and local levels.”
“4. So if we want to bring about real change, the choice isn’t between protest and politics – we have to do both. We have to mobilise to raise awareness, and we have to organise and cast our ballots to make sure that we elect candidates who will act on reform.
“5. The more specific we can make demands for criminal justice and police reform, the harder it will be for elected officials to just offer lip service to the cause and then fall back into business as usual once protests have gone away.”
“If you want to take concrete action, but you’re not sure how, we’ve created a site to connect you with useful resources and organisations who’ve been fighting the good fight at the local and national levels for years.
“I know the past few months have been hard and dispiriting. But watching the heightened activism of young people makes me hopeful. And if we can keep channeling our justifiable anger into peaceful, sustained, and effective action, this can be the moment when real change starts.”
Obama then shared a link to his website where people can find resources to educate themselves and help.
Stylist has rounded up all the UK anti-racism charities and organisations you can support right now. And we’ve looked at how we can all be better allies in the fight against racism.