During a speech last Thursday at the African Methodist Episcopal Church in Nashville, Tennessee, First Lady Michelle Obama implored the black churchgoers to become more politically active and carry on the “precious legacy” of activism “that has always paved the way for change in this country.”
“To anyone who says that church is no place to talk about [political] issues, you tell them there is no place better,” Obama said. “Because ultimately, these are not just political issues. They are moral issues.”
The First Lady preached against what she suggested is an epidemic of political apathy among the black community.
“How many of us have asked someone whether they’re going to vote, and they tell us, ‘Nah, I voted last time,’ or ‘Is there really an election going on?’” she said. “After so many folks sacrificed so much so that we could make our voices heard, so many of us just can’t be bothered.”
“But let’s be clear,” she continued, “While we’re tuning out and staying home on election day, other folks are tuning in.”
CNN points out that President Barack Obama received 96% of the black vote in the 2008 presidential election, and a strong turnout again among black voters this time around would be helpful in securing re-election.
She implored the churchgoers to recommit themselves to a legacy of activism “that means being informed, it means following the news … it means showing up to vote, and not just every four years, but every year in every election. It means engaging with the folks we elect … And if you don’t like what you see, then let them know or, better yet, run for a seat at the table yourself.”
“Today, the connection between our laws and our lives isn’t always as clear as it was 50 years or 150 years ago,” she added. “And as a result, it’s sometimes easy to assume that the battles in our courts and legislatures have all been won.”
View the First Lady’s speech below, via CNN:
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