President Obama and the Hispanic Community

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Office of the Press Secretary

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EMBARGOED UNTIL 6:00 AM ET, SATURDAY, May 10, 2014

WHITE HOUSE VIDEO MESSAGE: Commemorating Mother’s Day and Speaking Out on the Tragic Kidnapping in Nigeria

WASHINGTON, DC – In this week’s message, Special Assistant to the President and Director of Communications to the First Lady María Cristina González Noguera greeted all mothers on this upcoming Mother’s Day and offered her prayers and support to the families of the in the 200 Nigerian girls who were kidnapped.

Remarks of Maria Cristina Gonzalez Noguera

Spanish Weekly Address

The White House

Hello, I’m Maria Cristina Gonzalez Noguera, Director of Communications for the First Lady, and on this Mother’s Day weekend, I wanted to speak to you about an issue of great significance to me as a mother.

Like millions of people across the globe, we are outraged and heartbroken over the kidnapping of more than 200 Nigerian girls from their school dormitory in the middle of the night. 

This unconscionable crime was committed by a terrorist group determined to keep them from getting an education – men attempting to snuff out the aspirations of young girls. 

In these girls, we see our own children – their hopes, their dreams – and we can only imagine the anguish their parents are feeling right now. 

That’s why the President has directed our government to do everything possible to support the Nigerian government’s efforts to bring back these girls.

By attending school, these girls were fulfilling the hope that we have for every girl on this planet – to get a good education. 

They did so knowing full well the risk they were taking. 

Their school had recently been shut down due to terrorist threats – but these girls insisted on returning to take their exams, because they were determined to follow their dreams of becoming lawyers, doctors, teachers and making their families and communities proud.   

And what happened in Nigeria was not an isolated incident – it’s a story we see every day as girls around the world risk their lives to pursue their ambitions. 

It’s the story of girls like Malala from Pakistan who spoke out for girls’ education in her community and was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman while on a school bus with her classmates. 

But Malala survived and girls’ education is now her life’s mission. 

The courage and hope embodied by Malala and girls like her around the world should serve as a call to action. 

Because right now, more than 65 million girls are not in school. 

Yet, we know that girls who are educated make higher wages, lead healthier lives, and have healthier families. 

And when more girls attend secondary school, that boosts their country’s entire economy. 

So education is truly a girl’s greatest chance for a bright future, not just for herself, but for her family and her nation. 

And that’s true here in the U.S. as well – so I hope the story of these Nigerian girls will serve as an inspiration for every girl – and boy – in this country. 

I hope that any young people in America who take school for granted – any young people who are slacking off or thinking of dropping out – I hope they will learn the story of these girls and recommit themselves to their education.

So today, let us all pray for their safe return...let us hold their families in our hearts during this very difficult time…and let us show just a fraction of their courage in fighting to ensure that every girl on this planet gets the education that is her right.  Thank you.

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The audio of the address and video of the message is available online HERE.

 

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