Rose Garden 

11:21 A.M. EDT

THE FIRST LADY:  Hello.  Wow.  What a beautiful day for this. 

Thank you, and welcome to the White House.  You know, it’s wonderful to be with so many friends here today.

The story of the disability community — of all of you — is a story of fearlessness and resilience.  It’s the story of tireless dedication and overcoming incredible obstacles, both figurative and concrete.

Who could forget the image of then 8-year-old Jennifer Keelan-Chaffins, leaving her wheelchair behind to crawl up the Congressional steps along with dozens of other disability rights activists, showing the world what it was like to be denied access to the People’s Capitol.

Because of the work of thousands of courageous people like Jennifer, who refused to be silent about the indignities that they faced; who built coalitions and unified advocates, unions, and civil rights leaders; who held on to the hope of a better way — the Americans with Disabilities Act was signed into law 32 years ago.  (Applause.)

This community continues to shape our nation: crafting our laws and dismantling injustice; penning our poetry and painting our dreams; teaching our children and pushing the frontiers of our future. 

So you all probably know I’m an English teacher.  (Laughter.)  (Applause.)  Maybe there’s some English teachers in the audience. 

So I want to end with the words of the advocate and poet Susan Mazrui.  She wrote — and here she is.  (Laughs.)  (Applause.)  Stand up, Susan. 

THE PRESIDENT:  Stand up, Susan.

THE FIRST LADY:  Yeah.  (Applause.)  Yes. 

All right, these are your words:

“We are not the problem.  We are problem solvers.
…We have changed the world. 
Tomorrow, we fight the inequity that remains.
Tonight, we celebrate. 
The Power and the Pride.” 


Pretty good.  (Laughs.)  You all have changed the world.  And that’s why we’re here today.  We are honored to celebrate your power and your pride.

So now please join me in welcoming a leader who is working tirelessly to build on our progress: Mayor Tim Adams.  (Applause.)

                          END                 11:24 A.M. EDT

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