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During an open forum addressing the Black Lives Matter movement, President Barack Obama gave an extensive defense on Thursday stating protesters are only shedding light to a problem that is only happening in the African-American communities, adding, “We, as a society, particularly given our history, have to take this seriously.”

Obama said the movement, which came immediately after the deaths of unarmed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in 2012 in Florida and 18-year-old Michael Brown in 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri is misunderstood as African-American communities opposing police authority and suggesting that deaths among other races don’t matter (hence, why other opponents were stressing that “all lives matter.”)


In the clip that is shown above, Obama said, “I think everybody understands all lives matter. I think the reason that the organizers use the phrase ‘Black Lives Matter’ was not because they were suggesting nobody else’s lives mattered. Rather, what they were suggesting was there is a specific problem that is happening in the African-American community that’s not happening in other communities. And that is a legitimate issue that we’ve got to address. The African-American community is not just making this up.”

At the White House, Obama presented specific concerns about whether blacks in certain areas are treated unfairly or are more frequently subjected to excessive force by police. But at the same token, he wants people to “understand the overwhelming majority of law enforcement’s are doing the right thing and wants to do the right thing” and “recognize that police officers have a really tough job and we’re sending them into really tough neighborhoods that sometimes are really dangerous and they’ve got to make split-second decisions.”

He also said people shouldn’t be “too sanctimonious” about situations that can sometimes be ambiguous. Still, he stressed that unlawful deaths among black men and women have inspired protesters to pay heed to the Black Lives Matter movement, and is surely isn’t a figment of their imagination. There are indeed injustices in African-American communities, “It’s not just something being politicized. It’s real and there’s a history behind it and we have to take it seriously,” Obama said

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Sherley Boursiquot graduated from Lehman College with a B.A. in Multimedia Journalism. She has developed skills in content creating, reporting, and writing. Boursiquot also lives by three principals: patience, persistence, and faith, all in which are key elements to achieving success.

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