Obama Uses Lewis Eulogy to Call for Voting Reform: Protest Wrap

Former President Barack Obama, speaking at the funeral service in Atlanta for Congressman John Lewis on Thursday, urged lawmakers to honor the civil-rights icon by making sure every American is able to vote.

“Like John, we have got to fight even harder for the most powerful tool we have, which is the right to vote,” Obama said in the eulogy at the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church, once led by Martin Luther King Jr.

Read the full eulogy here:

Lewis, in an op-ed written before his death and published in today’s New York Times, said he was inspired in the last hours and days of his life by those seeking change in the wake of George Floyd’s death.

“Though I may not be here with you, I urge you to answer the highest calling of your heart and stand up for what you truly believe,” he wrote. “In my life I have done all I can to demonstrate that the way of peace, the way of love and nonviolence is the more excellent way. Now it is your turn to let freedom ring.”

Nestle SA will include Juneteenth as a U.S. holiday starting next year, becoming one of the first European companies to commemorate the formal end of slavery in the country in 1865. The Swiss food giant joins the likes of Nike Inc. and Twitter Inc. in adding June 19 to its corporate holiday calendar. In the U.S., McDonald’s Corp. said today it will step up efforts to fight systemic racism by addressing any hiring biases, increasing the diversity of its leadership and doing more to attract diverse franchisees.

Amid the outcry for racial justice, some economists have called on the Federal Reserve to target narrowing the gap between White and Black unemployment as it makes policy decisions. Fed Chair Jerome Powell told reporters Wednesday there has been more attention to the gap in recent years, but there are limits as to what the central bank can do about it. Instead, he suggested fiscal, education and health care policies in the U.S. can do more than monetary policy to combat the issue.

Powell’s comments came after a former senior Fed economist levied a broad critique of her profession, saying that racism, sexism and elitism have led to toxic work environments and bad policy advice.

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