The United States has been gripped by intense nationwide protests against police brutality after the police murder of a black man named George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Throughout the turmoil, President Donald Trump has failed to inspire any kind of large-scale confidence in his so-called leadership. He’s refused to engage with the substance of protesters’ pleas, and instead, he has openly called for more police violence against demonstrators. On the exact opposite end of the leadership spectrum, former President Barack Obama has been offering repeated messages of public leadership, including his Thursday post on Twitter pointing his followers to a particular book that can help people understand “the pain and anger behind the protests.”
“I want you to know that you matter,” former President Obama tells young people of color during a live-streamed town hall with local and national leaders of the police reform movement. “I want you to know that your lives matter, that your dreams matter.” https://t.co/iL1uOZzm7J pic.twitter.com/qkKtympifq
— CNN (@CNN) June 3, 2020
Alongside a link, he shared:
‘In our @MBK_Alliance town hall yesterday, I mentioned James Baldwin’s The Fire Next Time. From 1962, it remains a seminal meditation on race by one of our greatest writers and relevant for understanding the pain and anger behind the protests.’
In our @MBK_Alliance town hall yesterday, I mentioned James Baldwin's The Fire Next Time. From 1962, it remains a seminal meditation on race by one of our greatest writers and relevant for understanding the pain and anger behind the protests. Excerpt: https://t.co/50F9ZP3JhQ
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) June 4, 2020
The town hall that Obama mentions included a live broadcast speech from the former president. Imagine if Trump, even for a moment, tried to promote “understanding [of] the pain and anger behind the protests.” He’s done the exact opposite.
"Today, I'm urging every mayor in this country to review your use of force policies with members of your community and commit to report on planned reforms,” former President Obama said during a virtual town hall. https://t.co/iL1uOZzm7J pic.twitter.com/YSfgdSsmJe
— CNN (@CNN) June 3, 2020
The My Brother’s Keeper Alliance that Obama mentions is a community support organization led in part by the Obamas. According to the Obama Foundation’s website, the alliance exists to promote a call for the creation of “safe and supportive communities for boys and young men of color where they feel valued and have clear pathways to opportunity.” Contrast that mission with the Trump Foundation, which was revealed as a fraud over the course of years of investigation that culminated with New York state authorities taking the Trumps to court. Trump Foundation money had been used for an array of personal, frivolous expenses for the Trumps. Trump even used the money to purchase a portrait of himself.
Former President Obama is taking on an increasingly public role as the nation confronts a confluence of historic crises. In a virtual town hall Wednesday, Obama called for turning the protests over George Floyd’s death into policy change. https://t.co/2QXfm6csHj
— The Associated Press (@AP) June 3, 2020
Check out Twitter’s response to Obama below: