As ongoing protests — first ignited by the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis and then further inflamed by the killing of Rayshard Brooks in Atlanta — kept the national spotlight on systemic racism and police brutality Monday, former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick was both encouraged by the movement and disheartened by the reasons behind it.

“When, finally, is this nightmare of excess going to end?” Patrick asked. “When are we going to deal with the underlying issues about the value of Black life, of Black talent, of Black contributions, of Black citizenship?”

Brooks was shot twice in the back by an Atlanta officer as he ran away during an altercation with police after he was apparently found asleep in his car in a Wendy’s drive-through lane in Atlanta Friday night, less than three weeks after George Floyd was killed after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes. Both deaths have been ruled a homicide.

But despite the long list of Black Americans killed before Brooks and Floyd, many of whom prompted their own uprisings —Patrick said on WGBH News’ Greater Boston that he is hopeful this wave of activism will lead to real change.

“They stayed on the street, they stayed engaged,” he said. “[Protesters,] I think, more and more are coalescing around a common set of ideas about the way forward,” he said.

Patrick pointed to the growing calls from protesters to reallocate some police department funding to other areas of community support.

“There is a lot of very fresh thinking about what policing ought to be,” he explained. “We have sadly — I think, in some ways, very much like teachers — been asking police officers to do things that sort of pick up the pieces of other things we’ve just stopped doing, like providing services for people with mental illness, like dealing with chronic poverty and the breakdown of a sense of community.”

The former governor argued systemic racism is much larger than policing alone.

“I think we’ve gotta be about, not just new rules for the use of force by law enforcement, but new rules about how we make equality, opportunity, and fair play meaningful for everyone, everywhere in this country,” he said. “The focus on law enforcement and police reform and excessive force is important, it is current, but it’s not enough.”

Patrick said that cultural and behavioral changes are needed, too.

“In some ways in America, we’ve made our uneasy peace with non-discrimination laws, but we never really made our peace with integration — what it means to work and play and love across lines,” he said. “And that is not Black people’s work alone to do; it’s everybody’s work. And it’s work that we have to bring real urgency to.”

Patrick — who briefly ran for the 2020 Democratic nomination for president and now advises the Joe Biden campaign — said the outcome of the November election will play a major role in long-term reform efforts.

“Just as I think Donald Trump is exactly the opposite of what we need — meaning, not just not up to the job, but the opposite of what we need at this moment in our time — Joe Biden might be exactly what we need,” he said.

“What we need around him is people who are going to push him from a policy point of view, and I think that’s what an awful lot of us are trying to do right now,” Patrick added.

But he argued structural racism in the American voting system could weaken the chances of a Democratic victory on Election Day.

“We need to be real clear on this,” Patrick said. “Republicans have been leading an effort to suppress the vote that ranges from legislative gerrymandering to purging lists of inactive voters.”

Patrick urged voters to make a plan for how they will cast their ballot this fall and leave plenty of room for things to go wrong.

“It is imperative that we overwhelm that by participating this time — up and down the ballot,” he said. “We cannot be intimidated from engaging at a moment when it will take an overwhelming vote to drive a mandate to make the changes we need.”