Barack Obama has delivered a message of hope to black Americans amid George Floyd protests against police brutality and told young people of colour “their lives matter”, in his first on-camera comments since the demonstrations begun.
Drawing a stark contrast to Donald Trump’s messaging, he called for urgent police reform and said he believed only a “tiny” percentage of protesters had acted violently.
“I want you to know that you matter, I want you to know that your lives matter, that your dreams matter,” Mr Obama said in remarks streamed on YouTube, which drew an online viewership of roughly half a million people.
“When I go home and I look at the faces of my daughters, Sasha and Malia, and I look at my nephews and nieces, I see limitless potential that deserves to flourish and thrive.”
Mr Obama expressed optimism that the mass gatherings of people on the streets of the largest cities in the US over the last week would help lead to systemic changes in local law enforcement that many Americans feel oppresses people of colour.