Former President Barack Obama was among a number of speakers at the Atlanta funeral of civil rights icon Congressman John Lewis and though there were early questions about how the former commander-in-chief may address the presidential election less than 100 days away, Obama delivered his speech with a call to action.
The 44th president told the crowd, “Bull Connor may be gone, but today we witness with our own eyes police officers kneeling on the necks of Black Americans. George Wallace may be gone, but we can witness our federal government sending agents to use tear gas and batons against peaceful demonstrators.”
After applause from the congregation, Obama continued, “We may no longer have to guess the number jelly beans in a jar in order to cast a ballot, but even as we sit here, there are those in power who are doing their darnedest to discourage people from voting by closing polling locations and targeting minorities and students with restricted ID laws and attacking our voting rights with surgical precision.”
Moments later, Obama added, “I know this is a celebration of John’s life. There are some who might say we shouldn’t dwell on such things. But that’s why I’m talking about it. John Lewis devoted his time on this earth fighting the very attacks on democracy and what’s best in America that we’re seeing circulate right now.”
Former Pres. Obama: "Today we witness with our own eyes police officers kneeling on the necks of Black Americans. George Wallace may be gone, but we can witness our federal gov't sending agents to use tear gas and batons against peaceful demonstrators” pic.twitter.com/z8YqYu66lw— The View (@TheView) July 30, 2020
Obama had been staying out of the political arena for the past few years as Donald Trump led the country but he’s recently come back into the spotlight.
Last week, Obama and Democratic nominee Joe Biden appeared together in a video for the Biden campaign. In that clip, Obama said of Trump, “Can you imagine standing up when you were president and saying ‘it’s not my responsibility. I take no responsibility.’ Literally. Literally.”