Former President Barack Obama spoke with State Sen. Sharif Street, Rep. Dwight Evans, Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta and Councilmember Isaiah Thomas at a campaign event for Democratic presidential hopeful former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris in the North Philadelphia Hank Gathers Recreation Center on Wednesday, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
The members of the roundtable discussed ways to engage young voters, specifically young, Black male voters, in the Nov. 3 general election.
“When I was 20 years old, I wasn’t all that woke because I had other stuff that I was interested in,” Obama said. “We won’t go into the details, though. So a lot of times, I think, our young men, they may try to give a rationale for why they’re not active and involved. But the truth is they’re not active and involved, because they’re young and they’re distracted.”
Obama fielded questions from Imam Idris Abdul-Zahir, a management information systems alumnus, Thomas, Kenyatta, a 2012 public communications alumnus, and Tamir Harper, an American University student from Philadelphia, regarding connecting with young voters and how the former president found hope after his presidential term.
“One of the biggest tricks that’s perpetrated on the American people is this idea that the government is separate from you,” Obama said. “The government is us: of, by and for the people. It wasn’t always for all of us, but the way it’s designed, it works based on who’s at the table.”
“If you do not vote, you are not at the table,” he added.