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Photo: Getty Images/Getty Images for EIF & XQ

Former President Obama championed the "heightened activism of young people" and the spirit of the nationwide protests over the killing of George Floyd and other instances of police brutality while calling for an end to the violence that has erupted in parts of the country in a Medium post published Monday.

The big picture: The former president urged citizens to vote in concert with protesting, arguing that "if we want to bring about real change, then the choice isn’t between protest and politics. We have to do both."

What he's saying: Obama acknowledged that the "overwhelming majority of participants have been peaceful, courageous, responsible, and inspiring," adding that they deserve "our respect and support, not condemnation."

  • "On the other hand, the small minority of folks who’ve resorted to violence in various forms, whether out of genuine anger or mere opportunism, are putting innocent people at risk, compounding the destruction of neighborhoods that are often already short on services and investment and detracting from the larger cause."
  • "So let’s not excuse violence, or rationalize it, or participate in it. If we want our criminal justice system, and American society at large, to operate on a higher ethical code, then we have to model that code ourselves."
  • "The point of protest is to raise public awareness, to put a spotlight on injustice, and to make the powers that be uncomfortable; in fact, throughout American history, it’s only in response to protest that the political system has even paid attention to marginalized communities."

The bottom line: "If, going forward, we can channel our justifiable anger into peaceful, sustained, and effective action, then this moment can be a real turning point in our nation’s long journey to live up to our highest ideals."

Go deeper

Aug 27, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Trump and Biden ready to refight 1968

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photos: Win McNamee/Getty Images and Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump and Joe Biden are waging 2020 like it’s 1968, but they come at it with radically different views about this country's evolution over the past half century.

Driving the news: Jacob Blake's shooting in Kenosha, Wisconsin, has become the latest flashpoint on race, policing and violence. A string of incidents have spurred street demonstrations from DC to Portland and framed an election-year debate about racial justice versus law and order.

The rebellion against Silicon Valley (the place)

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Smith Collection/Gado via Getty Images

Silicon Valley may be a "state of mind," but it's also very much a real enclave in Northern California. Now, a growing faction of the tech industry is boycotting it.

Why it matters: The Bay Area is facing for the first time the prospect of losing its crown as the top destination for tech workers and startups — which could have an economic impact on the region and force it to reckon with its local issues.

Erica Pandey, author of @Work
1 hour ago - Economy & Business

Telework's tax mess

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

As teleworkers flit from city to city, they're creating a huge tax mess.

Why it matters: Our tax laws aren't built for telecommuting, and this new way of working could have dire implications for city and state budgets.