Here's the video of First Lady Michelle Obama's inspiring speech at last night's Congressional Black Caucus Foundation's (CBCF) 42nd Annual Phoenix Awards Dinner:
Click here for the full transcript.
The First Lady's speech is definitely worth watching and reading in its entirety, but here are some excerpts just in case you think you don't have time:
Now, this work wasn’t always easy, especially in the early years, when many members of this caucus faced challenges they never could have anticipated. For example, back in the early '70s, Congressman Ron Dellums was appointed to the Armed Services Committee -- (applause) -- as was Congresswoman Pat Schroeder. Displeased about having both a woman and an African American assigned to his committee, the chairman at the time added just one seat to the committee room -- and he forced the two of them to share it. But Congressman Dellums was unfazed. He said to Congresswoman Schroeder, "Let’s not give these guys the luxury of knowing they can get under our skin. Let’s sit here and share this chair as if it’s the most normal thing in the world." (Laughter.) [snip]Note: Last night, I had updated my Obama Nightly News diary to add this speech, then waited for someone else to post a diary featuring it, but folks seem to be busy still this morning.
But today, how many of us have asked someone whether they’re going to vote, and they say, no, I’m too busy -- and besides, I voted last time; or, nah, it’s not like my vote is going to make a difference? See, after so many folks sacrificed so much so that we could make our voices heard, too many of us still choose not to participate.
But let’s be clear: While we're tuning out and staying home on Election Day, other folks are tuning in. Other folks are taking politics very seriously. (Applause.) And they’re engaged on every level. They’re raising money. They’re in constant dialogue with elected officials. And understandably, in the face of all of that money and influence, it can start to feel like ordinary voices can’t be heard -- like regular folks just can’t get a seat at the table. [snip]
And make no mistake about it, this is the march of our time -- marching door to door, registering people to vote. Marching everyone you know to the polls every single election. See, this is the sit-in of our day -- sitting in a phone bank, sitting in your living room, calling everyone you know -- (applause) -- your friends, your neighbors, that nephew you haven’t seen in a while, that classmate you haven’t spoken to in years -- making sure they all know how to register, where to vote -- every year, in every election.
This is the movement of our era -- protecting that fundamental right not just for this election, but for the next generation and generations to come. Because in the end, it’s not just about who wins, or who loses, or who we vote for on Election Day. It’s about who we are as Americans. It’s about the democracy we want to leave for our kids and grandkids. It’s about doing everything we can to carry on the legacy that is our inheritance not just as African Americans, but as Americans -- as citizens of the greatest country on Earth. (Applause.) [snip]
So if you ever wonder whether change is possible, I want you to think about that little black boy in the office -- the Oval Office of the White House -- touching the head of the first black President. (Applause.)
And as we mark the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, I want you to remember that the house they were standing in -- the house my family has the privilege of living in -- that house was built in part by slaves. (Applause.) But today, see, the beauty is children walk through that house and pass by that photo and they think nothing of it, because that’s all they’ve every known. Understand this -- they have grown up taking for granted that an African American can be President of the United States of America. Now, isn’t that part of the great American story? Isn't it? (Applause.) [snip]