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tv   The Presidency Obama Presidential Center Groundbreaking  CSPAN  August 29, 2022 10:02am-11:01am EDT

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>> our weekly series the
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presidency highlights the politics, of u.s. presidents and first ladies. up next, former president barack obama and former first lady michelle obama break grounds on the obama presidential center in chicago. >> after eight years in the white house, michelle and i now rejoin all of you as private citizens. we want to thank you once again from the bottom of our hearts for giving us the incredible privilege of serving this country that we love. we also want to tell you a little bit about what we will be up to next. i will not stop, in fact i will be right there with you as a citizen for all of my remaining days! >> a
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place where young people can acquire the skills, and the connections they need to match their aspirations with real opportunities. >> the reason i knew i could do that is because i had seen it in my campaigns, and i had seen it during the presidency. the incredible talent, idealism, imagination, vision, innovation of young people all across america and all across the world. >> so many kids around the world, they just only know what they see. it is like wow, if we can open this up, open up these mines and show kids all that they can be, and all the life that they can have, wow that is a life's work. that we have thinking is the beginning of the concept of the obama foundation. >> we think that this can be completely transformative. >> when we put our programs forward, it is not what i think young people should want, or need to be successful. it is a's hearing from them. >> so, what gets me
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to wake up in the morning? i started to ask myself what kind of problem is i will be solving today. >> overcoming under employment. >> providing students with more affordable textbooks. >> we help people have experience. >> we wanted to stand up for people who felt like they didn't have anybody else to stand up for them. >> we want people to know they have a power. >> this is such an opportunity. >> you cannot understand how to change a world if you do not understand how to change the country. you can understand how to change a country if you do not know how to change a city. you cannot know that unless you know how to change a neighborhood. so, we have to have a place where we joke about a little bit, like this is the mothership. we want this to be a university for activism, and social justice. >> we are building a center for the future. it is an
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amazing metaphor of a movement, we are moving from individual agency to collective action, from me to we. >> we have to look at something here in chicago that has given us so much, that will have an impact nationally, internationally is a project that i will be spending the next 20 years, 30 years, 40 years on. and, it will be a labor of love that we are going to build together. >> i think that president obama when we first met i think he said he wanted to be the opposite of all presidential libraries. >> it is much less
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about making a building, and much more about making a whole place. >> how do we find that balance between creating a place and destination, and then also creating something that melds into it and is really a place of joy for the people who use it? >> we didn't immediately come up with a design. we said what are the values? and to help us focus, two words came forward. in noble, and enable. >> we can think that this means something iconic. if we think about enabling, we think of empowering all people. >> what we want this to be is the world's premier institution that will train the next generation of leadership. >> the obama presidential center will be a global hub, with programs that will empower and equip civic innovators. and this will be the overall
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effect. that's why we wanted -- >> the collaboration effort is across many disciplines. >> it's a conversation between the client, the community and is a conversation amongst ourselves. >> at night, everything will be light and this will be the overall effect. this is a beacon of hope, that's why we wanted the top to glow a bit. the building will
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have the sense of light coming out through the words. >> the single most powerful. using the words as the sunscreen, slowly developed. >> the process of selecting words can be so carefully done that we would commit them to a building. >> inside the building, you will be about this far away. this can all be finished virtually the same as that. >> when we think about the stories that will be told at the obama presidential center museum, we are not just telling the story of a president, we are telling the stories of people who helped shape the presidency. >> at this moment, we must pledge once more to march into the future. >> let's restore
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jackson park to the original mission, so that it once again becomes a peoples park. >> i think we began the idea that it is not a singular building by the campus. it is not about a singular person, it is not about a singular place. it is about people coming together. >> michelle obama was talking about her aspirations and said she thought it would be a good place for families, and that's why it was critical that it was in a park. >> mrs. obama has always stress that, i want to be able to see through the park. it looks like there's only one building on the site, because landscape covers the top of it. >> the whole presidential center is being designed with the public in mind. it's really an active place 24/7 and they can have serious conversations >> what's unique about the center is that
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it's so personal. it's a genuine representation of the presidency, the obamas as people, not just what's the foundation aspires it to be. >> the best things that have happened to me in my life happen in this community him. the start of my life in public service. i owe it all to this community. >> it means something when good, important things happen in the place where you live. it's a sign that you are valuable. >> if you want to do something, to try to make the world better, wherever you are, i think this is the place to come. ♪ ♪ ♪ >>
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it was a huge up swelling when president obama was elected. it will continue to arise in different people. >> we've been working on this place for over five years. and it is now that the ideas and vision become a reality. >> it's going to start, it's going to happen. >> 20 years from now, 30 years from now, i want young people all across the south side of chicago, all across chicago, all across america, to be able to look at this center and say, this is a sign that i count, this is a sign that i can change the world. >> hello, chicago. it's hard to believe it's almost 13 november's ago when we gathered in grant park to take the first steps on an incredible journey. each day i
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think about the millions of people whose lives are better a country made stronger, more equal and the president and first lady who made it all possible. their dignity, character and grace, barack and michelle, led by the power of their example. and they made clear a simple truth, the progress of our nation is not measured by a single presidency alone, as consequential as it is. especially it is measured by all of, us by we, the people, carrying the journey forward toward a more perfect union. you know, it's knowing that hope and change, not just slogans, are an expectation. hope and change isn't ethos, a conviction. that's what today represents. it's not just breaking ground on a new building. it's breaking ground on the very idea of america as a place of possibilities. each day, people of every age and
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background are going to learn about this historic presidency. but more than that, especially for all the young people, you will be able to imagine yourself as the person who you dreamed to be. with their own confidence and courage, you will know, you will know that you can do it. and know that in america, anything is possible, as you write the next chapter in history of the journey of this nation. what a gift to this great city. what a gift to our country way to gift to the world. to barack and michelle, jill and i are forever grateful. i can't wait for the center to open and for it to share memories together. we love you guys and hope to see you soon. >> please welcome, mayor laurie lightfoot. >> ♪ ♪ ♪ >> hello, everyone, and
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thank you all for being here today. today is a day for celebration and gratitude. we are here to celebrate an important milestone. the groundbreaking of the obama presidential center. we are grateful to former president obama and first lady michelle obama for twos in chicago for what i know will be a transformative investment on this historic southside of our beloved city. this groundbreaking marks the next chapter in a journey that began several years ago, took many twists and turns. due to the perseverance and hard work of many, we have arrived at this momentous day. the presidential center and complimentary investments my administration has made in the surrounding neighborhoods will be bringing to life the promise of true equity and inclusion,
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investment and development, on the south side. that's why i am beyond thrilled to be here, to break ground on this incredible project, which will help create inclusive economic development and growth for our residents and communities. and unlock their untapped potential. the obama presidential center will, among other things, provide a brand-new museum, and a library for visitors to learn and beautiful public spaces. immersive community programming and, of course, jobs that pay a living wage and are prioritized for folks from nearby communities. and to amplify the positive, catalytic impact of the obama presidential center, my administration, in partnership with local alderman and stakeholders, have had any number of capital and community investments and partnerships.
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this includes more than 200 million in investment in jackson park, which will also generate good paying jobs for residents and surrounding areas, create more and better green spaces, improve connectivity and safety for pedestrians and bikers. and accommodate future traffic demands. in addition, our department of housing and department of planning and development are implementing multiple community driven resources to set the stage for future private investment in areas in the footprint and the shadow of this incredible presidential center. one of those resources is the woodland revolving loan fund part of the housing preservation ordinance that will provide nearly 10 million in financial supports to help rehabilitate existing housing stock which will ensure that long term residents can remain in their homes and witness the revitalization of other communities firsthand.
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folks with these investments, we will be helping bring into reality the vision that [inaudible] residents of hyde park have demanded, to make sure that -- the southside remain strong and grows for years to come. we can't imagine a future where you get off the metro, to see a thriving 63rd street, and only go a short distance to visit a world-class museum campus, complete with the obama presidential center and museum of science and industry. this is the future of the south side that we will be creating in partnership with the community. this will not only send a ripple effect of economic development through the area, but really our entire city will benefit from these investments. supporting our southside communities and protecting its residents is an effort that i am personally passionate about. and that means that we cannot get this
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done alone. there are many people that i am grateful to on this historic day. i want to thank governor prince kerr and his team for their support of the jackson park infrastructure, countless city staff from a multitude of departments, like planning, development, water, and others, who will be the vanguard of these investment efforts in this community. we must also humbly thank our many community partners, including alderman gathered with us today. taylor and mitchell. as well as the many organizations and individuals who number in the dozens from the surrounding communities. these community stakeholders have worked tirelessly for years. and we would not be here today without them, so we must give thanks to them one at all. of course, we
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must also think, the obamas. a former president and first lady, and everyone at the obama presidential center and their team, and for choosing to make it here on the south side of our great city. i also want to thank the foundation board and staff, who have also been incredible partners on this journey. with the construction of this presidential center that will officially get underway shortly, we will be able to deepen our commitment to empower chicago's residence and allow them to showcase the rich talent and history and culture to visitors from nearby and far away. above all else, ensure that they're fully able to participate in the economic development and future of this neighborhood and the community for generations to come. i want to thank you all for being here. thanks again to president
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obama and first lady michelle obama and we are excited on this historic day. thank you all very much. >> [applause] >> please welcome governor jay b priztker. ♪ ♪ ♪ >> well, good morning everyone. what a thrill it is to be here in jackson park today, to mark this historic ground breaking, investment on chicago's south side. thank you to all who have
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worked together [inaudible] to illinois. which means we are proudly now known as the land of lincoln and obama. we need to check about changing the [inaudible]. i am privileged to welcome president obama and michelle obama back to chicago. i know that the city and the state hold a special place in their hearts, just as they hold a special place in hours. while the center will be of a presidential scale, its presidents and purpose still speak to the same community centered vision that have always defined the presidents work. there is no better home base than the community that
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you [inaudible] and then went to the white house with. everyone knows from our history, from the great chicago fire in 1871, that chicago is a city that knows the secret to rebuilding itself. meaningful investment. a good dash of engine new witty, and most important, putting working people first. it is a lesson that defines our covid-19 recovery initiatives, and it is why i am so proud to have the obama presidential center as a partner in building a better future for the south side for chicago, and for illinois. four leading for the first women architect and united states history to ensuring black contractors, and laborers are substantial builders of this project, to paving away for
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thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in economic activity right here in surrounding communities. the center will grow as the obamas have lived: with work rooted in creating new leaders with neighbors. and bringing new resources to a community that has historically received less. by 2025, changemakers from all over the world will come right here to learn about the obamas journey. take advantage of transformative resources, and engage in celebration in community spaces. marking jackson park as an incubate or for hope, and progress for years to come. i am particularly proud of our states contribution to these efforts, reshaping an enhancing trails, and roadways throughout
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the neighborhood, to ensure that the center is an accessible and enjoyable space for all. president obama, mrs. obama, illinois is working to live up to the promise that you have stood for. and, the potential for positive change thought will come from this new presidential center. as we recover from the pandemic, we are committed to building opportunities where there have historically been fewer. from building toward universal preschool, and affordable childcare, to providing rental and mortgage assistance to those who are struggling, to revitalizing our neighborhoods and our mean streets. today, with the groundbreaking of the obama presidential center, like the state of illinois there is abundant opportunity ahead. i believe to my core that the best measure of our progress's opportunity. opportunity for
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working families to achieve prosperity. opportunity for communities that -- opportunity. it is what the obamas are striving to build right here on the south side of chicago. we are so proud to be your home. >> to introduce mrs. michelle obama, please welcome's elle wilson. >> good afternoon. my name is zelle wilson, i am a junior. the next speaker and i have a lot in common, she may not know this but when she was so irving as an associate dean at the university of chicago, i was born at the university of chicago's hospital. we both
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attended bush a elementary, math and science academy. in the south shore neighborhood. in the community we call home. as a fellow girl from the south side, she has been an exceptional example to look up to. she knows firsthand that in our community we value and care for each other. we look after one another, our families and our homes. we carpool, we share cooking, we share our stories, and we believe in lifting up others as we climb. she has taken those values with her throughout her life. she has inspired me to be the best version of myself that i can be, by using my voice and serving others. i am reaching higher thanks to her. with my sights set on going to college, to play golf, and study to become an architect. all that being said, it is with deep appreciation and bursting excitement that i welcome former first lady, michelle obama to the podium! [applause] ♪ ♪ ♪ >> well, let me just say,
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zell, you are amazing, girl. you are my mini me and you are making me feel underdressed. just keep doing you, this is why we are so proud of you. i want to thank everyone for joining us. and we are thrilled to be back in the city we call home. i've earned a couple of degrees and i've worked in city
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government, run a small nonprofit. i met and married the love of my life. i have birth and raised two amazing young women. i've had the profound honor of serving as this nation's first lady, where i've traveled the world, dined with heads of state, kings and queens. i have to shaking hands with two popes. but here's the thing, no matter what i've accomplished, or who i've met, or where i've gone, one of my greatest honors is being a proud chicagoan. a daughter of the south side. >> [applause] >> i still lead with that descriptor. i wear it boldly and proudly, like a crown. see, to my mind, this city this
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neighborhood, it courses through my veins. it defines me at my very core. it makes me who i am. to this day, the experiences i had growing up in the city at neighborhood, all the lessons i learned in this very special place, they shaped my values and guide my actions, every single day. so i'm not just a doctor from the south side but i mother from the south side, a lawyer, an executive, an author from the south side. i am a first lady from the south side of chicago. and that is why this project is so incredibly important to me and my husband. it allows us to live out one of those values we learned right here. and that is, to give back something big and important and meaningful to the community that has given us so much. for us, the obama
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presidential center means a lot more then creating a space to house memories from the white house. this substantial investment in the south side will help make the neighborhood where we call home a destination for the entire world. more importantly, this project, as the governor and mayor have said, will be a vital resource for the people who live right here. the o p c will be a place where kids can find work where kids can grow and envision bigger lives for themselves. where families can walk and ride a bike who have a reunion in the grounds. where everyone can find calm and beauty and peace and safety. see, when i was a little girl even younger than zelda, growing up right here on the south side, we didn't have a lot of places like that in our
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own backyard. i remember that whenever me, my mom, dad, and brother wanted to do something special to see art, to hear music, taken a new museum exhibit, we had to get in my dad's buick 225, take jeffrey boulevard to lakeshore drive and head north to downtown d. c.. even as a child, i understood this disparity. i understood that whenever there was a huge investment of resources in the city, new park or infrastructure improvements, or other beautification effort, it just rarely happened in our neighborhood. we did have the science and industry museum,
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one of our favorite on the planet, by the way. we have that right here in jackson park. but the park itself? well, for the most part, it just didn't call to us. it did not always feel like a place for kids like me. too often, this gorgeous park felt like something to drive through, we're go around to get to somewhere else. as i grew up and i left my neighborhood to attend whitney young, i gained greater exposure to this magical city, riding hours, and i mean ours, every day, writing back and forth on the number six jeffrey express. i was able to see more of what chicago had to offer. but i continue to ask myself, why didn't we have more places to gather and connect in our neighborhood? why didn't our part of town drop people from around the world, just like the navy pier or the art institute? why wasn't there
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more investment in us? so when it came time to decide where to build the opc, barack and i knew this was a chance to change that narrative. a way to elevate the way kids like me, kids like zel, felt about their neighborhoods and, in turn, about themselves. because the center is not about me and barack. it's about the generations that came before us. the folks who did that heavy lifting and the ones who made michelle robinson and barack obama possible. it's about re-imagining this beautiful park and it's about welcoming people in. not just folks around the world, families like mine, who live right down the street. it's also about supporting the
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existing restaurants and stores, the neighborhood organizations. the schools and churches that are the lifeblood of this community and therefore the lifeblood of this city and this state. and not so long from now, when we are back to replace these shovels with a big pair of scissors, to open the center -- and i long for that day, i can't wait for that day -- we will walk through a world class museum. we will stroll down the beautifully redesigned pathways. we will open up a playground with a state-of-the-art jungle gym for kids to climb on. and best of all, for me, is that we will look out and see a big sledding hill for kids to slide down when it snows, which it still has a lot of here. something that i always dreamed about, when i was a little girl. that's what this is all about. all the hoopla, the lights, the temporary inconveniences. it's about giving a little something back to the place that we
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absolutely, truly love. because to me, this doesn't feel so much like building something new. it feels like we are helping to reveal what has always been here. so i want to thank you all for supporting this project. and to everyone who has made this possible, for honoring this park and honoring this part of town, making sure it is seen and felt for generations to come. we can't wait to see this place come to life. thank you all so much. >> [applause] >> to introduce the
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44th president of the united states, please welcome trenton banks. ♪ ♪ ♪ >> good afternoon everyone. my name is trenton banks. i'm a sophomore from south shore international college prep. in the morgan park neighborhood, there is my chicago home, it's an amazing honor to be with you today. like millions of kids across the country, i've spent my entire freshman year at home taking classes virtually. it wasn't the way i thought it would be. but i held on to hope that it would and could get better if we worked on it. it was the kind of hope that our next speaker transformed into a movement back in 2008, when i
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was just three years old. for my entire life, our next speaker has been a shining example of what can happen when your goal in life is to make a difference no matter what is going on or what is happening. he reminds me of myself in that way. i'm not entirely sure when my future holds but i know that i want to be and make a positive difference in the lives of others and to be successful in whatever path i choose. he has taught me that if you want to change the world, there is no better place than to start in your own community. and i'm ready to do that. without further ado, please join me in welcoming president obama to the podium. >> [applause] ♪ ♪ ♪ >> hello,
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everybody. >> [inaudible] >> this day has been a long time coming. we originally hoped to hold a bigger, festive event. but the pandemic had other plans. so we are keeping this small for now. but to everyone who is watching, including so many who were part of my administration, so many who have worked tirelessly to make this stay possible, please know how incredibly grateful i am and how much i'm looking forward to celebrating with all of you in person, as soon as we can. i want to start by thanking trenton for that
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outstanding introduction. >> [applause] and zell for doing such a great job introducing michelle. -- >> [applause] >> i would like zell to give me some tips on my golf game. >> [laughs] >> we are so proud of both of you and i want to acknowledge a few other people here today who have been so instrumental. our own governor of illinois, governor priztker. >> [applause] >> the mayor of our great city, mayor lightfoot. alderman leslie harrison and greg mitchell. thank you all for everything you've done to move this project forward. we are here today on the south side of chicago in jackson park to officially break ground on the obama presidential center. as michelle has noted, we chose this location for a few pretty good reasons. it's close to where michelle grew up, where i
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started my political career. it is surrounded by vibrant neighborhoods and a community where we believe we can help make a difference. jackson park also happens to hold a special place in my heart because it was literally my entryway into chicago. in the summer of 1985, i packed up my car, which was a pretty janky car, from new york. and i headed west. a 23 year old kid about to start a new life. after i came off the sky, way i found myself driving through jackson park. and at the time, i remember thinking, this is a lot more beautiful than i expected. admittedly, it was not winter. and i had not yet tasted the hawk coming off the lake. but at the time i was
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still trying to figure out who i was. still searching for a purpose to my life and it was in neighborhoods not far from here where i began working with church groups in the shadow of closed steel mills it was in communities across the city, from rosalynn and, to pullman, to pill son, little village northside. where i learned that everyone has a story to tell. that beneath our surface differences we have common hopes and common dreams and common values. the stitches together. chicago is where i found the purpose i had been seeking. it is where i finally put my ideas about democracy and activism and social change to the test. most important, it's where i met the brilliant and beautiful daughter of the southside named michelle
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robinson. we were married here and had our perception down south shore cultural center. our doctors were born down the street at the hospital. we bought our first home here, a few blocks away, and it's where i taught law and michelle worked with students at the university and patients at the hospital. it's where i announced my first campaign for public office at what at least then was known as the ramada in on lakeshore drive. it's where i had the honor of serving constituents. all that happened within a few-mile radius of here. chicago is where almost everything that is precious to
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me began. it's where i found a home. and obviously, michelle and i have been on a fairly extraordinary journey since then. one we could never have imagined all those years ago. but as far as we've come, i've never lost sight of some important lessons that i learned right here in chicago. the first involves the power of place. then need to anchor our efforts to build a better world, not in theories and abstractions. but in neighborhoods and communities. by now, most people know that i come from a pretty diverse background. i was born in hawaii, my parents are from kenya and kansas. as a child i lived in indonesia. i've got family who's gene pools stretch from ireland to china. i've got lifelong friends who come from
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just about every corner of the world. and that background helps explain my core belief in the oneness of humanity. a belief and the god given dignity and worth of all people. and the underlying bonds that we share. it's why i believe that america's diversity is a strength, not a weakness. and that the only way we can solve our biggest challenges, from climate change to economic inequality, is if we recognize those common bonds and learn to work together across the divides of race and religion and language and culture. but as strongly as i hold to that belief, chicago taught me that change doesn't start on a global scale. change starts one person at a time,
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one school at the time, when neighborhood at the time. one community at the time. the internet and social media can connect us and raise awareness about issues that matter. but it's only when we root ourselves in specific communities that we can understand the realities of peoples lives. and their complexity. that's where we build relationships and the trust that change requires. it's how we test our commitments and our assumptions. and we learn to navigate our differences and we find the strategies and programs that ultimately transform the world. the second thing chicago gave me was a faith that ordinary people working together can do extraordinary things. we early in our history has progress arrived from on high. the
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abolition of slavery, the expansion of the franchise, by the working conditions,, cleaner air and water, women's rights, lgbtq rights, all these things gain traction because a critical mass of people got involved. gotten gauged. and came together to make their voices heard. and yes, that process can be contentious, as i'm sure the governor and mayor are aware. it can take time. but in the end, it's the most effective and inclusive, most durable way to move the world as it is, towards the world as it should be. the idea of participation, of active citizenship, also happens to be the head of our experiment in self government. and no matter
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where we are, we we come from, how much money we have, with our last name is, any of us can recognize where our nation has fallen short, challenge the status quo and pull america closer to our highest ideals. and that same faith in participatory democracy has overthrown tyrants and liberated countries and delivered greater opportunity to billions of people around the world. so my experience in chicago made me believe in the power of place and the power of people. those beliefs guided me all the way through my presidency. and they have shaped our vision for the obama presidential center. we are about to break ground on what will be the world's premier institution for developing
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civic leaders across fields, across disciplines and, yes, across the political spectrum. a forum for those who want to strengthen democratic ideals. and foster active citizenship. a campus right here on the south side, or we hope to convene, support and empower the next generation of leaders. not just in government and public service but also those who intend to bring about change through the arts or journalism or who want to start businesses that are inclusive, socially responsible and responsible, responsive to the challenges of our time. we want the center to be more than a static museum or a source of archival research. it won't just be a collection of campaign memorabilia or michele's ball gowns, though i know everybody will come see those. it won't just be an
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exercise in nostlagia or looking backwards, we want to look forward. we want this to be a living, thriving home for concerts, cultural events, lectures, trainings, summons, topical dialogues and conversations. we want this to be a hub for in-house fellows with real world experience to share what is working and what's not in solving the big problems of the day. we envision this as a place where residents and visitors from all over the world come together and restore the promise of the peoples -- so that will be the core mission of the center and our foundation program. inspiring and empowering citizens and communities to act on the biggest challenges of our time, giving leaders the tools they need to be effective and preparing young people everywhere to pick up a baton and help change the world. along the way, we want the
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obama presidential center to change chicago for the better. the center will support thousands of jobs during and after construction. many of them right here on the south side. it will help spark economic growth in this community by bringing as many as 750,000 visitors to this area every single year. visitors who will eat, shop, explore and spend money, strengthening the south side and making it an even more attractive place for businesses to grow and higher. the center will also preserve and enhanced the things that make jackson park special. it will reunify parkland, plant new trees, provide new habitat for birds and wildlife. but as michelle noted, we are also going to open this park up to the community. creating a community
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rec center. another branch of the chicago public library, creating new spaces for folks from the south side and all over the city to gather and connect and to learn. i will close by saying that it feels natural for michelle and me to want to give back to chicago and to the south side in particular, the place where she grew up and i came into my own, where our children were born and where we made so many friends and where i launched my political career. we will always be grateful for that and the obama presidential center is our way of repaying some of this amazing cities gifts to us. but we are also building the center because it is believed that bias it can speak to some of the central struggles of our time. we are living through a moment of
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rapid destruction. rapid disruption in technology, from the global economy, in our social arrangements, in our environment. and those disruptions can be scary. too often, it feels as if our major institutions have failed to respond effectively to these disruptions, to help people find economic security or manage our differences or protect our planet. and what we've seen is that in the breach, a culture of cynicism and mistrust can grow. we start seeing more division and increasingly bitter conflict. a politics that feeds anger and resentment towards those who are not like us. and starts turning away from democratic principles in favor of tribalism and might makes right. this is true in europe
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and in asia. it's true in latin america and africa. and it happens to be true here at home. but the good news is, we can reverse these trends. i don't believe it's inevitable that we succumb to paralysis or mutual hatred or abandoned democracy in favor of systems that reserve power for the few. as has been true throughout our history, i believe we have it in us to reimagine our institutions. to make them responsive to today's challenges. and to rebuild our societies in ways that give more and more people a better life. and i believe it because i've seen it. i've seen it in the work of young activists and social entrepreneurs, right here in chicago, from the north
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side to the south side to the west side. from oakland to johannesburg. from ho chi minh city to rio de janeiro, from amsterdam to port-au-prince. around the world and right here in chicago there are young people who are not waiting for someone else to solve big problems. instead, in the face of sometimes impossible odds, they are rolling up their sleeves and putting down steaks and making a difference, when neighborhood, one school, one community at the time. they are building health clinics in urban slums. educating girls in rural villages. they are reforming policing and challenging corruption. they are inventing new ways to cut carbon emissions and providing clean water to those who desperately need it. they are building businesses on principles of equity and
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sustainability. and they are giving workers a real stake in their company's success. this coming generation, this generation of zell and trenton and others, they are the source of my hope. when it is they are imagination, there was, aliens their embrace of diversity, their belief that every voice counts, they are deep commitment to protecting the planet and challenging long-standing injustice that i believe will save all of us. and through the center, we intend to give these young people and those who are coming up behind them whatever training, support, resources and platforms they need to fully realize their potential and to collaborate and share ideas and to bring their dreams to scale. michelle and i cannot
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imagine a better legacy than that. we cannot imagine a better investment than that. for this next generation of leaders, in chicago and around the world, we see ourselves. we didn't start out in washington. i didn't start off as president. i started off right down this street, and the lessons i learned in these neighborhoods ended up shaping the rest of my life. the obama presidential center is our way of showing young people everywhere that they can do the same. i could not be more excited
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to officially break ground and get us one step closer to making that vision a reality. thank you very much. now, we're going to go grab some shovels and break some ground. thank, you everybody. are we ready? these are outstanding ceremonial shovels. are you guys ready? let's step forward. all right, first one, stick it in the ground. ready? go. look at, smile.
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was that a good one? all right. now we're going to lift up the dirt there. that's some nice dirt, by the way. now, i guess we're going to toss the dirt up? one, two, three. that's it! [applause] [inaudible]
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that was good. thank, you everybody. [applause] i'm fired up! ♪ ♪ ♪ there are a lot of places to get political information, but only at c-span do you get straight from the source. no matter where you are from, or where you stand on the issues, c-span's americas network. and filtered, unbiased, lord forward. that happens here or here, or hear, or anywhere that matters, merica is watching on c-span. powered by cable. >>


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