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10 Powerful Quotes on Race, Unity From Obama This Week

On July 12, US President Barack Obama, along with hundreds of Americans, attended a memorial service for the five police officers killed in the Dallas after a violent misguided retaliation against the tragic deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile.

Two nights later, addressing delayed conversations on race relations within the country, Obama held a town hall titled, “The President and the People: A National Conversation.

Through these dark times came powerful and poignant words in which Americans and the world can find comfort and hope in working together toward racial equality.

Here are 10 quotes from Obama on race and unity.


“In the end, it's not about finding policies that work; it’s about forging consensus, and fighting cynicism, and finding the will to make change.” - Dallas Memorial

“I can give a nice speech, we can have a town hall, we can – the Justice Department can investigate certain cases or provide assistance and training to police officers so that they’re safe. We can do all those things, but real change is gonna happen at the local level.” - At ABC Town Hall

“It’s important for us to also understand that the phrase 'Black Lives Matter' simply refers to the notion that there’s a specific vulnerability for African Americans that needs to be addressed. It’s not meant to suggest that other lives don’t matter. It’s to suggest that other folks aren’t experiencing this particular vulnerability.” -  ABC Town Hall

On Black Lives Matter movement and solving race relations.

“It has also got to be on the community. It’s also got to be on civic leaders. It’s got to be on churches. It’s got to be on elected officials to try to create these kinds of conversations before crises happen.” - ABC Town Hall

“I'm here to say we must reject such despair. I'm here to insist that we are not as divided as we seem, and I know that because I know America. I know how far we've come against impossible odds.” - Dallas Memorial

“I see what’s possible when we recognize that we are one American family, all deserving of equal treatment.” - Dallas Memorial

“Can we see in each other a common humanity, a shared dignity, and recognize how our different experiences have shaped us?" - Dallas Memorial


“With an open heart, we can abandon the overheated rhetoric and the oversimplification that reduces whole categories of our fellow Americans not just to opponents, but to enemies.” - Dallas Memorial

“With an open heart, we can worry less about which side has been wronged, and worry more about joining sides to do right.” - Dallas Memorial

“I believe our sorrow can make us a better country.  I believe our righteous anger can be transformed into more justice and more peace.” Dallas Memorial