Wednesday, July 24, 2024

“Somos Americanos,” Says Obama at CHCI Gala

On Wednesday evening President Barack Obama spoke at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute’s 32nd annual gala. He spoke very eloquently about the importance of nurturing today’s young leaders and praised CHCI and its leadership for focusing on such an important endeavor that will greatly impact our country’s future.  He talked about the importance of making sure that a young Latina, who may be attending a crumbling school in the inner-city does not “start thinking less of herself because she doesn’t have more” and he added that when that happens, it is not just a problem for her family or her community.  He underscored that it was a problem for the whole country – “Todos somos Americanos.”  President Obama used this phrase throughout his speech to make the point that we are all in this together.

He then addressed the issue of healthcare, the “signature” issue of his presidency, and he addressed head on the controversy surrounding how undocumented immigrants would be dealt with in the health care reform legislation.  He stated that it has been his policy from the beginning that no one in the United States illegally would receive benefits under the new healthcare reform.  But he also noted that so many Latinos who are here as citizens or otherwise legally, lack good quality health insurance and that this legislation would help them and their families find peace of mind and security where there is now only fear and insecurity. The President followed with a segue into the importance of fixing a broken immigration system.

He added that “Even though I do not believe we should extend health coverage to those who are here illegally, I also don’t simply believe we can ignore the fact that our immigration system is broken.”  With that he promised action on immigration and assured the crowd that it would it be taken up by his admistration.

President Obama also praised the nomination of Justice Sonia Sotomayor as the nation’s first Latina on the Supreme Court, who had been invited a special guest to the CHCI Gala.  The President said proudly,  “As she lifted her right hand to take the oath, our nation took one step closer to fully realizing the founding ideals that the court itself was established to defend. And across America, millions of children’s sights are now set higher; their dreams are a little bigger. That benefits all of us.”

In addition, he addressed the need to address the disparities within the U.S. education system and the economy which have plagued the Hispanic community, telling the crowd, once again, “Todos somos Americanos,”. “We are all Americans.”

President Obama also touted that he had hired more Hispanics in his administration than any other including high-level appointments such as Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and Labor Secretary Hilda Solis.  He also noted to thunderous applause, that about half of these high-level historic appointmens were Latinas.

Associated Press

United Press International