President Barack Obama delivered an impassioned and fiery speech at this year’s Congressional Black Caucus Phoenix Awards dinner, calling for African-Americans to come out in support of Hillary Clinton in the 2016 general election and rebuking the idea that as a community, Blacks do not have a reason to vote.
Mr. Obama said to those in attendance:
“I will consider it a personal insult, an insult to my legacy, if this community lets down its guard and fails to activate itself in this election. You want to give me a good send off? Go vote!”
After Pres. Obama’s final address as President of the United States to the Congressional Black Caucus, Roland Martin and NewsOne Now got immediate reactions from many of the lawmakers who gathered in Washington, D.C. for the CBC’s annual event.
Shuanise Washington, President and Founder of the CBC Foundation, told NewsOne Now that President Obama “could not have done a better job capturing the last eight years in terms of what he’s been able to contribute to the African-American community, and I think most importantly [he] demonstrated and communicated to African-Americans that the commitment we can make to him and his administration is to continue to pay it forward.”
Roslyn Brock, Chair of the NAACP Board of Directors, said Mr. Obama “made it loud and clear that we have to ensure that his legacy is alive and well and that everyone should get out, get motivated, register, and vote.”
Black Lives Matter activist Brittany Packnett believes Pres. Obama “connected his legacy and progress that has been made in his administration to what the future holds.” She added, “We must remember that it’s not just about a single vote in a single year, it’s about the continuation of work from the last eight years moving forward.”
Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) said President Obama “laid out in clear and direct terms the fierce urgency of going out and making sure that everyone in the African-American community and the Latino and the Asian community, progressives, moderates, independents, get out to vote because of the stakes.”
Jeffries continued, saying this year’s election is “not just about the difference between hope and fear, but the issues around mass incarceration, and an inclusive economy and working for children and families.”
The Congressman from New York added, “This was one of the most compelling (speeches) that President Obama has given during the duration of his time in office.”
Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) told NewsOne Now, “This president made it abundantly clear that he wants his legacy to stay intact and he’s clear that the only way that’s going to happen is that if people, particularly our African-Americans, come out to vote.
“When Donald Trump asked what do we have to lose, he’s told us what we have to lose,” he continued.
Pollster Cornell Belcher said President Obama did something he has never done before in his tenure as President of the United States and that is “connect the gun issue with the bullets to the ballot.”
Civil rights icon and Congressman John Lewis (D-GA) reflected on President Obama’s clarion call to the African-American community, saying, “If you want to do something for me, go out and vote, protect my legacy. Don’t stay home, get people registered and go out and vote.”
Rep. Lewis also stated he agrees with Mr. Obama and said, “That’s what is needed, we got to fire up people and get them to get off their butts and go to the polls and vote like we never voted before.”
Watch reactions to President Barack Obama’s final CBC Phoenix Awards Dinner address as President of the United States in the video clip above.
PHOTO CREDIT: Getty