Former President Barack Obama on Monday laid out the next steps he believes protesters should take in their fight against police brutality in the United States.
In a Medium post, Obama praised the demonstrations that took place across the United States over the last several days. He said the "overwhelming majority" were "peaceful, courageous, responsible, and inspiring," with some exceptions. But he also said, eventually, the movement will have to take other avenues to enact change. "I've heard some suggest that the recurrent problem of racial bias in our criminal justice system proves that only protests and direct action can bring about change, and that voting and participation in electoral politics is a waste of time," he wrote. "I couldn't disagree more."
He said "aspirations have to be translated into specific laws and practices," adding that the only way to really make that happen in the U.S. is to elect government officials, especially at the state and local levels, who are "responsive to our demands." Relatedly, he argues "the more specific we can make our 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 the way."