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Remarks by the President at the NAACP Conference

Journal Staff Report | 7/20/2015, 6 a.m.
President Barack Obama addresses the 2015 NAACP National Convention.

Pennsylvania Convention Center

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

4:54 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT: Hello, NAACP! (Applause.) Ah, it’s good to be back. (Applause.) How you all doing today? (Applause.) You doing fine?

AUDIENCE: Yes!

THE PRESIDENT: You look fine. (Applause.) All right, everybody have a seat. I got some stuff to say. (Applause.) I've got some stuff to say.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: We love you!

THE PRESIDENT: I love you back. You know that. (Applause.)

So, see, now, whenever people have, like, little signs, you all got to write it bigger, because I'm getting old now. (Laughter.) And I like that picture of me. That's very nice. Thank you. (Applause.)

Let’s get something out of the way up front. I am not singing today.

AUDIENCE: Awww --

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Obama Addresses NAACP National Convention

THE PRESIDENT: Not singing. Although I will say your board sang to me as I came in for the photograph. (Laughter.) So I know there’s some good voices in the auditorium.

Let me also say what everybody knows but doesn’t always want to say out loud -- you all would rather have Michelle here. (Laughter.) I understand. I don't blame you. But I will do my best to fill her shoes. (Laughter.) And she sends everybody her love. And Malia and Sasha say hi, as well. (Applause.)

I want to thank your chair, Roslyn Brock. I want to thank your president, Cornell Brooks. I want to thank your Governor, Tom Wolf, who’s doing outstanding work and was here. (Applause.) The Mayor of Philadelphia, Michael Nutter, who’s been a great friend and ally. (Applause.) Governor Dan Malloy of Connecticut, who’s here today. (Applause.) And some outstanding members of Congress who are here. I want to just say thank you to all of you for your love, for your support, but most importantly, for the work that you are doing in your communities all across the country every single day. (Applause.)

It's not always received with a lot of fanfare. Sometimes it's lonely work; sometimes it's hard work; sometimes it's frustrating work. But it's necessary work. And it builds on a tradition of this organization that reshaped the nation.

For 106 years, the NAACP has worked to close the gaps between the words of our founding that we are all created equal, endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights -- those words try to match those with the realities that we live each and every day.

In your first century, this organization stood up to lynching and Jim Crow and segregation; helped to shepherd a Civil Rights Act and a Voting Rights Act. I would not be here, and so many others would not be here, without the NAACP. (Applause.)

In your second century, we’ve worked together to give more of our children a shot at a quality education; to help more families rise up out of poverty; to protect future generations from environmental damage; to create fair housing; to help more workers find the purpose of a good job. And together, we’ve made real progress -- including a My Brother’s Keeper initiative to give more young people a fair shot in life; including the passage of a law that declares health care is not a privilege for the few, but a right for all of us. (Applause.)