Former President Barack Obama has teamed up with British soccer player Marcus Rashford to encourage young people to become political activists who call for change in society.
The two men had a Zoom meeting posted on YouTube on Friday where they shared their individual motivations for their activism.
Obama talks about his activism
“I want young people to see that, even in the highest spheres of power, where I sit with world leaders trying to develop a program that addresses climate change, end a war or address a big world Economic crisis, it's still just people, "said Obama.
"It's still just people," he added. “So often we feel for many young people, especially for young people who are poor or not from well-connected families or young people with skin color or women or people with different sexual orientations, as outsiders, not sure whether we belong the table to make these decisions. "
"But the fact is, the people who make the decisions are no smarter than you," Obama continued. "You are not endowed with special gifts in any way. You may have had opportunities and contact about things that you did not have, but you can get these. I wanted young people to see my journey, to understand that they are in those rooms and belong to those tables where decisions are made. "
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Obama went on to say that Rashford is way ahead of "before I am 23" and praised the athlete for being smart enough to ask, "How do I give back?"
"Nobody is destined to be president, nobody is destined to be influential," said Obama. "It's about you taking the risk and taking the risk that you might be able to make a difference."
"What I tell young people is that regardless of your job, you still have the ability to give back and make a difference," he continued. "If you want to become a journalist, there is a journalism that serves to tickle people and make them passive and ignorant, or a journalism that focuses people on important topics, gives them information and empowers them."
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"When you join a company, you have to make decisions: Is your company one that treats workers fairly, is environmentally conscious, and is doing the right thing by the community in which it is located?" Obama said. “Or is it exploitative? If you choose to go into public service, you can do it through government, but you can also do it through nonprofits.
"It's the collection of people who do positive little things over time that make us a little better with each succeeding generation," concluded Obama.
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This piece was written by James Samson on May 29th, 2021. It originally appeared in LifeZette and is used with permission.
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