On August 28th, 1963, Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his “I Have a Dream Speech” at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C.
We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of Now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children.
Forty-five long years later, Barack Obama accepted the Democratic Party’s historic nomination to run for president of the United States in front of a crowd of 75,000 people. Mr. Obama is the first African-American to be nominated by a major US party. Tonight was a beautiful night and one I will never forget. Barack Obama’s words (and they are not just words) reminded me why I’ve stuck around even when I didn’t want to. Hope is what gets me up every single day. Hope has been there even in my darkest hours. After my rape at fifteen, during my brief stay in a mental hospital, when I lost my health insurance this year and during the many years from childhood to adulthood when life seemed so hopeless, it was always there…burning inside me… hope…hope has kept me alive. Barack Obama is promising hope and change and I know he will deliver- with our help. Now is the time…this election is about us…each and every one of us.
America, now is not the time for small plans.
Now is the time to finally meet our moral obligation to provide every child a world-class education, because it will take nothing less to compete in the global economy. Michelle and I are only here tonight because we were given a chance at an education. And I will not settle for an America where some kids don’t have that chance. I’ll invest in early childhood education. I’ll recruit an army of new teachers, and pay them higher salaries and give them more support. And in exchange, I’ll ask for higher standards and more accountability. And we will keep our promise to every young American – if you commit to serving your community or your country, we will make sure you can afford a college education.
Now is the time to finally keep the promise of affordable, accessible health care for every single American. If you have health care, my plan will lower your premiums. If you don’t, you’ll be able to get the same kind of coverage that members of Congress give themselves. And as someone who watched my mother argue with insurance companies while she lay in bed dying of cancer, I will make certain those companies stop discriminating against those who are sick and need care the most.
Now is the time to help families with paid sick days and better family leave, because nobody in America should have to choose between keeping their jobs and caring for a sick child or ailing parent.
Now is the time to change our bankruptcy laws, so that your pensions are protected ahead of CEO bonuses; and the time to protect Social Security for future generations.
And now is the time to keep the promise of equal pay for an equal day’s work, because I want my daughters to have exactly the same opportunities as your sons.
Sadly, most of America did not hear a few very special stories because mainstream media (to my knowledge) chose not to air them. Even MSNBC cut to their commentators during the following speeches. Thank God for C-SPAN!!! I have decided to share a few of the videos here because they are stories we all need to hear. And a special thank you to the following lovely men and women who spoke tonight:
Roy Gross – Michigan Teamster car transport driver affected by decline in car manufacturing; Monica Early – New to campaigning, this Akron mother & grandmother is an Obama volunteer; Janet Lynn Monacco – Struggling small business owner from Melbourne, FL with health issues; Teresa Asenap – Albuquerque, New Mexico public school worker concerned about economy
Pamela Cash-Roper – Unemployed nurse and lifelong Republican from North Carolina
Barney Smith – Marion, Indiana plant worker – lost job of 30 yrs when plant moved to China