Transcript via Chicago Sun-Times:
[N]ow, back when our great-grandparents were riding that Underground Railroad, back when John Lewis was marching across that bridge in Selma, and Jim Clyburn was sitting in an Orangeburg jail, the injustices we faced were written in big, bold letters on the face of our laws. And while we may have had our differences over strategy, the battles we needed to fight were very clear.
We knew that to end slavery, we needed a proclamation from our President, an amendment to our Constitution. To end segregation, we needed the Supreme Court to overturn the lie of “separate but equal.” To reach the ballot box, we needed Congress to pass the Voting Rights Act.
So we moved forward, and we won those battles. And we made progress that our parents and grandparents could never have dreamed of.
But today, while there are no more “whites only” signs keeping us out, no one barring our children from the schoolhouse door, we know that our journey is far, far from finished. But –(applause) — yes. But in many ways, the path forward for this next generation is far less clear. I mean, what exactly do we do about children who are languishing in crumbling schools? What about kids growing up in neighborhoods where they don’t have opportunities worthy of their dreams? What about the 40 percent of black children who are overweight or obese, or the nearly one in two who are on track to develop diabetes in their lifetimes? […]
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.