Barack Obama writes essay on effecting real change after George Floyd's killing

After releasing a statement on the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, former President Barack Obama on Monday wrote a more lengthy statement on the role of protest in catalyzing political change.

“The bottom line is this: if we want to bring about real change, then the choice isn’t between protest and politics,” he wrote on Medium. “We have to do both. 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 first spoke out Friday, urging Americans “to work together to create ‘a new normal’ in which the legacy of bigotry and unequal treatment no longer infects our institutions or our hearts.”

Over the weekend, the protests grew in cities across the country, with police mobilizing and often violently intervening and arresting scores of protesters and journalists, spawning renewed calls for the demilitarization of and systemic reform of police.

“The point of protest is to raise public awareness, to put a spotlight on injustice, and to make the powers that be uncomfortable; in fact, throughout American history, it’s only in response to protest that the political system has even paid attention to marginalized communities,” Obama wrote Monday. “But eventually, aspirations have to be translated into specific laws and institutional practices — and in a democracy, that only happens when we elect government officials who are responsive to our demands.”

Read the full post here.

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  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.