President Barack Obama on Saturday reached out to his African-American supporters by invoking the “foot soldiers” of the civil rights movement during a speech aimed at motivating his base ahead of the November elections.
“Every time we’ve made epic change, from this country’s founding to emancipation to women’s suffrage to workers’ rights, it hasn’t come from a man. It’s come from a plan. … That’s what we need again,” Obama said at the annual Congressional Black Caucus Foundation dinner in Washington, D.C.
“I need everybody here to go back to your neighborhoods and your workplaces, to your churches and barbershops and beauty shops. Tell them we have more work to do. Tell them we can’t wait to organize. Tell them that the time for action is now,” he said.
The president acknowledged that many people “may not be feeling that energized or that engaged right now” when it comes to voting in a midterm election. But he warned that Republican gains in Congress would undercut the goals he shares with the CBC.
Looking back over the past year and a half, Obama praised CBC members for their role in a
“historic legislative session” and said they have helped to deliver some of “the most significant progress in a generation.”
But Obama emphasized that more work needs to be done to boost the economy, particularly given how the recession “came down with a particular vengeance on African-American communities.”