2:48 PM PT -- Obama invoked the names of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Cesar Chavez and Malcolm X when discussing young people and the inspiration they've become during this movement. He said what's happening right now "reminds people of the 1960s and the chaos, the discord and distrust throughout the country." But he added, "I have to tell you, I know enough about that history to say there is something different here. You look at these protesters, and that is far more representative across America, peacefully protesting; who felt moved to do something because of the injustices they have seen."
Obama said the mobilization in peaceful protesting across America -- and frankly, across the world -- didn't exist back in the day. He said, despite the riots, the majority of Americans agree these protests are justified. And, that's the change he's seen so far in these protests.
The Prez said he wanted to talk directly to people of color and say "I want you to know that you matter; that your lives matter. Your dreams matter." He also challenged local officials on how to bring about real change, while urging young people to vote in local elections.
It should be noted ... Obama acknowledged law enforcement and the "vast majority who protect and serve. I've been heartened to see those in law enforcement who recognize, 'Let me march along with these protesters.' Those who recognize they want to be part of the solution. Those who listen. Change will require everyone’s participation."
Former President Barack Obama is making his first on-camera remarks about the death of George Floyd ... and TMZ is streaming live.
Obama is set to speak Wednesday during a virtual town hall sponsored by My Brother's Keeper Alliance -- an org that partners with his Obama Foundation. Barack is expected to address Floyd's killing, police practices ... and the racial bias still ingrained in the justice system.
Organizers have dubbed the event, "Reimagining policing in the wake of continued police violence" ... and it's supposed to kick off at 2 PM PT. This will be Obama's first time publicly discussing George Floyd's case on camera -- he's already addressed his death on social media and in a Medium essay.
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44 tackled issues surrounding police brutality while in office -- he rolled out a number of policies intending to curb those incidents, such as creating a task force with guidelines on 21st century policing, as well as limiting the transfer of military equipment to police departments.
Donald Trump's administration has rolled back some of those reforms, so ya gotta wonder if BO will directly call out the President during the town hall.
Obama also addressed the slaying of Ahmaud Arbery a few weeks ago during a speech to the graduating class of 2020 -- HBCU students, specifically.
Originally Published -- 1:43 PM PT