In the wake of mounting tensions spurred by the recent killing of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge and Philando Castile in Falcon Heights, MN followed by the shooting deaths of police officers during a protest in Dallas, TX, President Obama accepted an invitation to participate in a candid conversation on race and policing during a historic town hall.


During the one-hour broadcast moderated by “World News Tonight” anchor David Muir on Thursday night, the President engaged in discourse on policing, implicit racial biases and the Black Lives Matter movement. He directly addressed questions from Cameron Sterling, son of Alton Sterling, Diamond Reynolds, girlfriend of Philando Castile and Dan Patrick, Lieutenant Governor of Texas among several other audience members who have been impacted by the increased divisions between police and the black community.

President Obama made clear his support of police officers, acknowledging the difficulty and heroism that their job entails while advocating for proactive support and training.

He also defended the Black Lives Matter Movement saying, “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.”

His overall message was one of optimism, unity and hope. “I’m Mr. Hope when it comes to these issues. I’ve said from the start that we are not as divided as we seem. And I think we’re gonna solve it,” he said.


After his address to the nation, many activists expressed frustration at what was perceived by many to be an overly skewed defense of law enforcement with insufficient acknowledgment of the very real threat and harsh victimization that minority communities disproportionately face at the hands of police.

Erica Garner, daughter of Eric Garner who died after being placed in a deadly chokehold by New York City police officers in 2014, stormed out of the town hall taping in protest expressing her frustrations on Twitter.

She says the network lied about the nature of the event, never once mentioning her father, Eric.

Yall know i had to turn the fuck up on abc didnt mention my dad name once lied to me about asking questions

A video posted by erica garner (@miss_garner4eva) on

After viewing the broadcast, Black Twitter gave a collective nod of agreement with her sentiments.

But also, there was a realization of the President’s tight position.

What were your thoughts on the POTUS town hall on race relations in America? Comment below.

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