10 Leadership Lessons

Barack Obama Inauguration Speech - Jan 20 Inaugural

Date of publication: 2017-08-25 19:44

I know that for many of you, today is the first day of school. And for those of you in kindergarten, or starting middle or high school, it’s your first day in a new school, so it’s understandable if you’re a little nervous. I imagine there are some seniors out there who are feeling pretty good right now, with just one more year to go. And no matter what grade you’re in, some of you are probably wishing it were still summer, and you could’ve stayed in bed just a little longer this morning.

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Obama said the world must do more to combat income inequality, noting that the concentration of wealth fans fears that governments exist solely to benefit the powerful, NBC reported.

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Riding high in the polls but just days away from handing over the reins to a Manhattan mogul who has vowed to dismantle much of his legacy , Obama chose to make his final address as commander-in-chief in the city where he launched his unlikely and boundary-breaking political career — Chicago.

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So tonight, in honor of my father's memory and my daughters' future — out of gratitude to those whose triumphs we mark this week, and those whose everyday sacrifices have brought us to this moment — let us devote ourselves to finishing their work let us work together to fulfill their hopes and let us stand together to elect Barack Obama president of the United States of America.

The President: Hello everyone how’s everybody doing today? I’m here with students at Wakefield High School in Arlington, Virginia. And we’ve got students tuning in from all across America, kindergarten through twelfth grade. I’m glad you all could join us today.

That’s why today, I’m calling on each of you to set your own goals for your education – and to do everything you can to meet them. Your goal can be something as simple as doing all your homework, paying attention in class, or spending time each day reading a book. Maybe you’ll decide to get involved in an extracurricular activity, or volunteer in your community. Maybe you’ll decide to stand up for kids who are being teased or bullied because of who they are or how they look, because you believe, like I do, that all kids deserve a safe environment to study and learn. Maybe you’ll decide to take better care of yourself so you can be more ready to learn.

While Obama was in an Islamic country and Trump in a Western one during these respective speeches, the difference in tones transcended location and marked antithetical historic strains of Western culture. Obama believed that the crisis of the West originated in its arrogant, “high horse” historic overreach, and clingerism this hubris demanded a corrective deference to equally brilliant or indeed superior alternate cultural paradigms.

Where you are right now doesn’t have to determine where you’ll end up. No one’s written your destiny for you. Here in America, you write your own destiny. You make your own future.
That’s what people like you are doing every day, all across America.

As such, Reverend Wright's comments were not only wrong but divisive, divisive at a time when we need unity racially charged at a time when we need to come together to solve a set of monumental problems — two wars, a terrorist threat, a falling economy, a chronic health care crisis and potentially devastating climate change — problems that are neither black or white or Latino or Asian, but rather problems that confront us all.

As I go around the room suddenly I hear this voice cry out behind me fired up. I'm shocked. I jumped up. I don't know what is going on. But everyone else acts as though this were normal and they say fired up. Then I hear this voice say ready to go. And the 75 people in the room act like this happens all the time and they say ready to go.

This time we want to talk about how the lines in the emergency room are filled with whites and blacks and Hispanics who do not have health care, who don't have the power on their own to overcome the special interests in Washington, but who can take them on if we do it together.

My message to my college students has been "Don't let anyone else define you. Define yourself. Believe in yourself." None of us can hear enough of the message, and starting when for the first time little kids sit next to THEIR peers (not your peers, Mom and Pop, theirs), they need to understand that we are all different, but each of us can work to the best of our abilities.

There is one story in particularly that I'd like to leave you with today — a story I told when I had the great honor of speaking on Dr. King's birthday at his home church, Ebenezer Baptist, in Atlanta.

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