Speakers—including Michelle Obama, Bernie Sanders, Ady Barkan, Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, Kamala Harris, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton—addressed the public through a virtual Democratic National Convention. Speeches included pleas to vote, praises for youth involvement, recognition of empathy and calls to keep fighting.
Monday, August 17
First Lady Michelle Obama on empathy and moving forward:
“So, it is up to us to add our voices and our votes to the course of history, echoing heroes like John Lewis who said, ‘When you see something that is not right, you must say something. You must do something.’ That is the truest form of empathy: not just feeling, but doing; not just for ourselves or our kids, but for everyone, for all our kids.”
Senator Bernie Sanders on defending democracy:
“In response to the unprecedented crises we face, we need an unprecedented response—a movement, like never before, of people who are prepared to stand up and fight for democracy and decency—and against greed, oligarchy and bigotry.”
Tuesday, August 18
Medicare for All advocate Ady Barkan on health care as a human right:
“Today, we are witnessing the tragic consequences of our failing health care system. In the midst of a pandemic, nearly 100 million americans do not have sufficient health insurance, and even good insurance does not cover essential needs like long-term care. …
“We live in the richest country in history, and yet we do not guarantee this most basic human right. Everyone living in America should get the health care they need, regardless of their employment status or their ability to pay.”
Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio Cortez on the people’s movement:
“In fidelity and gratitude to a mass people’s movement working to establish 21st century social, economic and human rights, including guaranteed health care, higher education, living wages, and labor rights for all people in the United States; a movement striving to recognize and repair the wounds of racial injustice, colonization, misogyny and homophobia, and to propose and build reimagined systems of immigration and foreign policy that turn away from the violence and xenophobia of our past; a movement that realizes the unsustainable brutality of an economy that rewards explosive inequalities of wealth for the few at the expense of long-term stability for the many, and who organized a historic, grassroots campaign to reclaim our democracy.”
Wednesday, August 19
Nominee for Vice President, Senator Kamala Harris on pushing forward:
“This week marks the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th amendment. And we celebrate the women who fought for that right.
“Yet so many of the Black women who helped secure that victory were still prohibited from voting, long after its ratification. But they were undeterred. Without fanfare or recognition, they organized, testified, rallied, marched, and fought—not just for their vote, but for a seat at the table. These women and the generations that followed worked to make democracy and opportunity real in the lives of all of us who followed. They paved the way for the trailblazing leadership of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. And these women inspired us to pick up the torch, and fight on. Women like Mary Church Terrell and Mary McCleod Bethune. Fannie Lou Hamer and Diane Nash. Constance Baker Motley and Shirley Chisholm. We’re not often taught their stories.
“But as Americans, we all stand on their shoulders.”
Former President Obama on the importance of youth involvement in politics:
“To the young people who led us this summer, telling us we need to be better—in so many ways, you are this country’s dreams fulfilled. Earlier generations had to be persuaded that everyone has equal worth. For you, it’s a given—a conviction.
“And what I want you to know is that for all its messiness and frustrations, your system of self-government can be harnessed to help you realize those convictions. You can give our democracy new meaning. You can take it to a better place. You’re the missing ingredient—the ones who will decide whether or not America becomes the country that fully lives up to its creed.”
Hillary Clinton on the importance of voting:
“Vote for parents struggling to balance their child’s education and their safety. And for health care workers fighting COVID-19 with no help from the White House. Vote for paid family leave and health care for everyone. Vote to protect Social Security, Medicare, reproductive rights, and our planet. Vote for DREAMers and their families. For law enforcement that serves and respects communities of color. Vote for justice for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, because Black Lives Matter.”