ICYMI: Michelle Obama Talks Voting Rights at CBC Gala
7 months ago
First lady says African Americans shouldn’t feel “unwelcome in the voting booth”
On Saturday, First Lady Michelle Obama addressed attendees of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s Phoenix Awards Dinner, which capped off a three-day conference with current and former African American members of Congress in the nation’s capitol.
If you were unable to catch the first lady’s speech, view video of her remarks above or read the text of her speech below.
[SEE ALSO: Black Women and the Voting Rights Fight]
REMARKS BY THE FIRST LADY AT THE CONGRESSIONAL BLACK CAUCUS GALA
MRS. OBAMA: Thank you so much. (Applause.) Thank you. It is truly a pleasure and an honor to be here with all of you tonight. Thank you so much for having me.
I want to start by thanking Congressman Cleaver and Shuanise Washington for their outstanding work and for their introduction. I also want to recognize your terrific CBC Foundation President and CEO, Elsie Scott. (Applause.)
And of course, I want to congratulate this year’s Phoenix Award winners -- Attorney General Holder, Congresswoman Brown, Mayor Gantt, and George Lucas. Thank you all for your outstanding contributions to our nation, and we look forward to hearing from you all later this evening. (Applause.)
I also want to take a moment to note the passing of a true leader in this caucus, Congressman Donald Payne. (Applause.) Congressman Payne was a distinguished member of Congress, a visionary Chairman of the CBC, and his presence is sorely missed.
And finally, I want to recognize all of the CBC members, past and present, who are with us here tonight. You all are part of a proud tradition, one that dates back not just to the founding of this caucus, but to the beginning of so many improbable journeys to the halls of Congress.
Take Congressman John Lewis, for example. He was the son -- (applause.) Yes, indeed. He was the son of sharecroppers. And as a boy, yearning to become a preacher, he gave impassioned sermons to the chickens on his family’s farm. (Laughter.)
And then there’s Congressman Louis Stokes who was raised by a widowed mother in Cleveland’s public housing. (Applause.) He served in the Army during World War II. And although he fought under the same flag, he still had to eat, sleep, and travel separate and apart from his fellow soldiers.
And then there's Congresswoman Barbara Lee, who almost didn’t make it into this world. When her mother was in labor, the segregated hospital refused to admit her, and they didn’t agree to care for her until hours later, when it was almost too late.
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