President Obama met with over two dozen people regarding the Ferguson unrest on Monday, including law enforcement officials, civil rights leaders, and young people involved in activism protesting the decision by the grand jury in the Michael Brown case.
“When any part of the American family does not feel like it is being treated fairly, that’s a problem for all of us,” he said.
Obama explained that the “most powerful” meeting was one with eight young people who were involved with the Ferguson protests, particularly with those who suffered from what they claimed was unfair treatment from officials.
“When I hear the young people around this table talk about their experiences, it violates my belief in what America can be,” he said, pointing out that the young people of color he spoke to had felt “marginalized and distrusted.”
The group of young leaders included Rasheen Aldridge and Brittany Packnett of the Ferguson Commission, the president of the Howard University Student Association, and an artist Antoine White (T-Dubb).
Obama paid special attention to Aldridge and Packnett, pointing out that the pair from Ferguson felt “as if they are not heard or that the reality of what they experience has been denied.”
“That’s not who we are and I don’t think that’s who the overwhelming majority of Americans want us to be,” he said.
Obama lamented that constructive community activists were not being heard, because of the actions of the violent protestors in the streets.
Other members of the administration participating in the meetings included Vice President Joe Biden, Attorney General Eric Holder, and senior advisor Valerie Jarrett.
“I think there’s a maturity of the conversation right now that can lead us to actually getting some concrete results,” Obama said positively vowing that he would “follow through” on his promise to create change.
Obama also spoke about meeting with “outstanding” law enforcement officials “who recognize that times have changed and want to be responsive.”
Seven members of law enforcement were in the meeting including officials from Baltimore and Philadelphia as well as a representative from the National Fraternal Order of Police.
“I think there may be a convergence here,” Obama said optimistically, announcing a task force to put together concrete recommendations for the federal government.
“This is not going to be an endless report that ends up collecting dust on a shelf,” he said.