Barack Obama at La Raza
by Todd Beeton, Sun Jul 13, 2008 at 11:34:08 AM EDT
The theme of the La Raza brunch is The Power to Change History. Janet Murguia is speaking now introducing Barack Obama. She said her first experience with Obama was when he reached out to La Raza upon first having been sworn in a a US Senator. She's speaking about what an ally Obama has been to La Raza.
He stood with us on legislation to help stem the current housing crisis. He has stood with us on the Dream Act and helped pass Illinois' own version of the Dream Act, stood with us on increasong access to health care for latino and immigrant children and in our attempt last year to pass comprehensive immigration reform.
She just introduced Barack Obama as "the next president..." and then caught herself and refered to him as the presumptive Democratic nominee. Whoops.
Update [2008-7-13 15:56:14 by Todd Beeton]:Barack took the stage and got a great reception. "Si se puede!"
"I will never forget that the most important experience in my life came when I was working every day on the ground in our communities to make change." He's speaking about his work community organizing on the south side of Chicago, a largely Latino community.
"Change does not come from the top down, change comes from the bottom up. Change doesn't happen just because someone in Washington says it should. Change starts when you teach a child to read or register to vote...when you heal broken bodies and troubled spirits, organize communities and allow people to join unions."
Update [2008-7-13 15:56:14 by Todd Beeton]:The theme of this speech is "The system is not working.""The system is not working when...the student who is top in her class can't afford to go to college...when 12 million people stay in the shadows and employers hire undocumeted workers instead of citizens so they can avoid paying overtime and exploiting workers...when neighborhoods are terrorized by ICE...others are ripped from their babies."
The overflow room is now applauding.
"I will be a president who works with you and who walks with you every step of the way."
He's now speaking about the importance of the values of the hispanic and immigrant communities. "That sense that we are in this together, that we are our brother's keeper, we are our sister's keeper...the values that have made the Hispanic community so strong have made America strong too. This election is a test to our allegiance to the American dream."
On McCain and comprehensive immigration reform:
"I know Senator McCain used to buck his party by supporting comprehensive immigration reform. I admired his courageous stance and joined him in it. But as he was competing for his party's nomination he said he wouldn't sign the bill that he himself wrote."
"I marched with you in the streets of Chicago and I fought for you in the senate and I will make it a top priority as president of the United States."
On what immigration reform means:
"We should require them to pay a fine...learn english...go to the back of the line but we can not have 12 million people in the shadows. That would turn America into something we are not. We need to offer the 12 million of those who are undocumented a path to citizenship."
Update [2008-7-13 15:56:14 by Todd Beeton]:He's now going after McCain's "health care plan."
"I will take on the drug and insurance companies. We are going to guarantee health insurance for anyone who needs it and make it affordable for anyone who wants it."
He just mentioned a new element to his health care plan, which would make it easier for small businesses to offer employees quality health care through tax breaks. "This is a plan that was championed by my friend Hillary Clinton." The ballroom and the overflow room went nuts."
Update [2008-7-13 16:5:7 by Todd Beeton]:He got another strong reception when he said "this election is going to hinge on you." He spoke about the power of the latino community in elections and the importance of "translating your numbers into votes." He said hundreds of thousands of latino voters in New Mexico did not turn out in 2004 yet John Kerry lost the state by less than 6,000 votes.
"La Raza: 'the people.' I'm told the original phrase was 'the cosmic people.' That's big...The notion that we are all a part of a larger community, that we are all in this together, that we are our brother's keeper."
"That's how we're going to make the system work for everyone."...that system belongs to every last one of us...This November we're coming together to turn the page on the failed policies of the past and together we are not only going to win this election but we will transform this nation."