Barack Obama Inspirational Speech

Thank you very much thank you so much well I am I’m so grateful a to be a recipient this award to be keeping such extraordinary company I first evolved wanna thank olive you were involved in making this possible but the main thing that I want to do here is to just say I’m inspired by young people who are representative because I think that’s the purpose ultimately this foundation and I want to tell just a brief story because archbishop 22 is here one of my heroes and let you know where I was when I was about your age I’m really dating myself now although I’m also betting their expression because a back in nineteen 79 I was a freshman in college at Occidental College and California and I had had a somewhat rocky youth and and teenage years my father was not home I was growing up partly with my grandparents in high school I got in trouble occasionally was what my mother called a good time Charlie a meaning I wasn’t really serious in terms of my studies in terms my work had some awareness of the world around me had some sense of injustice in on fairness but it wasn’t finally home that was well developed and I remember in 1979 arriving as a freshman and doing what freshman do your trying to figure out what courses are in tryna changes study habits and try and identify about food in the cafeteria what it is %uh and a we were visited on campus by a couple love gentleman from South Africa who were represented as the ANC in 1979 1980 and they spoke about their efforts to overcome apartheid and for up an hour myself in a group of students listened to these young men who were not much older than we were describe the extraordinary struggles they were going through the sacrifices that were being made people who it were in during jail and torture and beatings because they had a sense that somehow some way a justice would prevail and that brief meeting I think in some ways changed my life because why did told me first of all was that ordinary people can do extraordinary things when they’re given an opportunity we sometimes think that our leaders have to be have fancy degrees are well educated or some public office somewhere these young men had not none of those things about what they possessed was a anger over injustice that they were able to channel in a constructive positive way and I thought to myself that Bay gave me some sense the direction that my life might go and so I became active in the anti-apartheid movement on campuses and I’m not sure we were particularly effective as I recall Occidental College continued to refuse to divest despite the various protests that we organize the students I transferred to Columbia there was similar resistance on Columbia’s campus but over time I like to think that I was part love that mosaic bat apply pressure and ultimately helped those in South Africa achieve the extraordinary liberation that I would witness almost ten years later night as a as a loss to and I remember the image Nelson Mandela walking out of prison and understanding that a seminal moment in history had occurred and that mandela’s long march towards freedom was not his alone but was part love thousands the footsteps love millions of footsteps of people around the world and i trace back me getting involved in politics to that mall because I as a consequence is that organizing on a college campus I became a community organizer as a consequence welcome your organizer a after going back to law school became a civil rights attorney as consequence a being a civil rights attorney I entered the state legislature and I now stand before you as a United States Senator and as a candidate for president and so the primary message I guess I am in receiving this award is that all love you represent enormous potential enormous possibility for change because we all know that injustice still exists just exists here in the United States in every for neighborhood and every inner city and every rural community all across the country there is quiet desperation young people’s lives are filled with sadness and desperation anarchy and chaos and obviously all around the world we see those same symptoms hopelessness made manifest in places like Darfur places like the Middle East in places that too often forgotten about another written about until the flare-up in tragedy so I hope that all %uh view who are on the brink of doing extraordinary things decide the channel that talent in that energy and that imagination to figuring out how do you move the process along for better history you know how do you put your shoulder against the wheelman move that boulder up the hill and I’m absolutely confident that if I love you take up the challenge the world is waiting for you ready to be changed because I think we live in this moment in history right now where better the hunger for change the hunger for something new the desire to break out above the ordinary the self-interested the pedi the trivial is is everywhere and the waiting for you and so I hope for that as you see the recipients of this award you recognize that it’s actually more VA towards a give you a little spark and drive you im the wonderful directions that I hope your lights take in the years to come so thank you very much

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