SPECIAL REPORT: March With Me And Press On, Obama Said In Congressional Black Caucus Speech

President Obama

“I don’t have time to feel sorry for myself. I don’t have time to complain. I am going to press on,” said President Barack Obama. Photo credit: Ibrahim Dabo.

By Ibrahim Dabo (@IbDabo)
Bill Fleming, senior editor, contributed to this story

WASHINGTON, D.C.— President Barack Obama in his speech at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Annual Phoenix Dinner on September 24, 2011, in Washington, D.C., told blacks to quit complaining and “put on your marching shoes” to follow him in the fight for jobs and a brighter future. He said change is never easy but “you can’t stop marching.”

Challenges and Faith

President Obama often referenced the importance of faith in the journey through challenges leading to better days ahead.

“What this weekend is all about is, you and me, we’re all a little bit crazy, but hopefully a good kind of crazy.  We’re a good kind of crazy because no matter how hard things get, we keep the faith; we keep fighting; we keep moving forward,” Obama said.

“We’ve needed faith over these last couple years.  Times have been hard.

President Obama

President Obama: “We’re all a little bit crazy, but hopefully a good kind of crazy.” Photo credit: Ibrahim Dabo.

“It’s been three years since we faced down a crisis that began on Wall Street and then spread to Main Street, and hammered working families, and hammered an already hard-hit black community,” Obama said, adding that the unemployment rate for black people went up to nearly 17 percent―the highest it’s been in almost three decades.

He mentioned almost 40 percent of African American children are living in poverty.

“Fewer than half [are] convinced that they can achieve Dr. King’s dream,” Obama said. “You’ve got to be a little crazy to have faith during such hard times.”

“It’s heartbreaking, and it’s frustrating,” Obama said, adding that he ran for president and the members of the CBC ran for Congress to help more Americans reach that dream.

“We ran to give every child a chance, whether he’s born in Chicago, or she comes from a rural town in the Delta. This crisis has made that job of giving everybody opportunity a little bit harder,” he said.

“We knew at the outset of my presidency that the economic calamity we faced wasn’t caused overnight and wasn’t going to be solved overnight.  We knew that long before the recession hit, the middle class in this country had been falling behind―wages and incomes had been stagnant; a sense of financial security had been slipping away.  And since these problems were not caused overnight, we knew we were going to have to climb a steep hill.”

Success and Hope

“We’re attacking the cycle of poverty that steals the future from too many children―not just by pouring money into a broken system, but by building on what works―with Promise Neighborhoods modeled after the good work up in Harlem; Choice Neighborhoods rebuilding crumbling public housing into communities of hope and opportunity; Strong Cities, Strong Communities, our partnership with local leaders in hard-hit cities like Cleveland and Detroit,” Obama said.

He said today, insurance companies can no longer drop or deny people coverage for no good reason.

“In just a year and a half, about one million more young adults have health insurance because of this law.  One million young people.  That is an incredible achievement, and we did it with your help, with the CBC’s help,” Obama said.

“We’ve got more work to do.  So many people are still hurting.  So many people are still barely hanging on.  And too many people in this city are still fighting us every step of the way,” he said.

“I need your help,” Obama said, adding that we have to do more to put people to work right now.

“We’ve got to make that everyone in this country gets a fair shake, and a fair shot, and a chance to get ahead. And I know we won’t get where we need to go if we don’t travel down this road together.  I need you with me,” he said.

American Jobs Act

President Obama said he talked about the American Jobs Act when he visited Congress a few weeks ago and sent the bill to Congress a few days later.

Guests at the Phoenix Awards Dinner

Guests at the Phoenix Awards Dinner. Photo credit: Ibrahim Dabo.

“Now I want that bill back―passed.  I’ve got the pens all ready.  I am ready to sign it.  And I need your help to make it happen,” Obama said.

Obama said there are millions of unemployed Americans and young people looking for work but running out of options.

“So this jobs bill says, let’s give them a pathway, a new pathway back to work.  Let’s extend unemployment insurance so that more than six million Americans don’t lose that lifeline,” Obama said.

“Let’s also encourage reforms that help the long-term unemployed keep their skills sharp and get a foot in the door.  Let’s give summer jobs for low-income youth that don’t just give them their first paycheck but arm them with the skills they need for life.”

Change Is Never Easy

President Obama said throughout our history, change has often come slowly and progress often takes time.

President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama

President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama walk across the stage. Photo credit: Ibrahim Dabo.

“It’s never a straight line.  It’s never easy.  And I never promised easy,” Obama said. “Easy has never been promised to us.  But we’ve had faith. We’ve had that good kind of crazy that says, you can’t stop marching.”

Pressing On

President Obama said the future rewards those who press on and with patience and firm determination, he will press on for jobs and equality.

“I’m going to press on for the sake of our children.  I’m going to press on for the sake of all those families who are struggling right now,” Obama said.

“I don’t have time to feel sorry for myself.  I don’t have time to complain.  I am going to press on.

“I expect all of you to march with me and press on.  Take off your bedroom slippers, put on your marching shoes.  Shake it off.  Stop complaining, stop grumbling, stop crying.  We are going to press on.  We’ve got work to do.”

Also see:
SPECIAL REPORT: Obama Determined to Finish Plan on Strengthening U.S. Economy
IB TALK ONLINE SPECIAL COMMENTARY: A Review Of President Obama’s Congressional Black Caucus Speech

About Ib Dabo

Ib Dabo, founder and executive editor of Ib Talk Online, is a writer, journalist, photographer, and communications and IT leader whose mission is to inspire and work with people to make a difference in our world. Visit his official website - www.IbDabo.com - to learn more. Follow @IbDabo on Twitter and also @IbTalkOnline on Twitter.