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Obama talks about his activism – “I needed younger folks to see my journey”

Former President Barack Obama has teamed up with British soccer player Marcus Rashford to encourage young people to become political activists who are calling for change in society.

The two men had a Zoom meeting posted on YouTube on Friday talking about their individual motivations behind their activism.

Obama talks about his activism

“I want young people to see that even in the highest spheres of power, where I’m sitting with world leaders and we’re trying to devise a program to deal with climate change, end a war or tackle a big world.” Economic crisis, it’s still just people, “said Obama.

“It’s still just people,” he added. “So often we feel unsure whether with many young people, especially young people who are poor or who do not come from well-connected families, or young people with skin color or women or people with different sexual orientations, as often as outsiders we belong to the table to make these decisions. “

“But the fact is, the people who make the decisions are no smarter than you,” Obama continued. “You are not somehow endowed with special gifts. You may have had opportunities and faced things that you did not have, but you can get them. I wanted young people to see my way, to understand that they belong in these rooms and at those tables where decisions are made. “

Related: Obama claims “institutional constraints” prevented him from speaking up on the killing of black Americans

Obama doubles

Obama went on to say that Rashford was way ahead of who I was at 23 and praised the athlete for being wise enough to ask, “How do I give back?”

“Nobody is destined to be president, nobody is destined to exert influence,” said Obama. “It’s about taking the risk, taking the chance, that maybe you can make a difference.”

“What I tell young people is that regardless of your chosen profession, you still have the ability to give back and make a difference,” he continued. “If you want to become a journalist, there is a journalism that serves to irritate people and make them passive and ignorant, or there is a journalism that focuses people on important topics, gives them information and empowers them.”

Related: Tucker criticizes Obama as “one of the shabbiest” figures in American politics

“When you start a business, you have decisions to make: is your company treating workers fairly, environmentally conscious, and doing justice to the community in which it is located?” Said Obama. “Or is it exploitative? If you choose to go into public service, you can do so through government, but also through nonprofits.

“It’s the collection of people who do positive little things over time that makes us a little better with each succeeding generation,” concluded Obama.

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This piece was written by James Samson on May 29th, 2021. It originally appeared in LifeZette and is used with permission.

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