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Marie Lopez Rogers

Recently, I heard the story of a participant at this gathering that we had at the White House that I was telling you about at the top of my speech. So this participant’s name was Marie Lopez Rogers. And Marie was born to migrant farm workers in Avondale, Arizona. As a young girl, she and her brother would help their parents in the cotton fields. And I’m assuming the temperatures were sort of like they’ve been the last couple days here in D.C. And it was in those cotton fields that Marie’s father would tell her, “if you don’t want to be working in this heat, you better stay in school.” So that’s what Marie did.

And because of that, because of the tireless, back-breaking work of her parents, because of their willingness to struggle and sacrifice so that one day their children wouldn’t have to –- Marie became the first in her family to go to college. And, interestingly, she now works at the very site where she used to pick cotton — except now city hall sits there and Marie is the town’s mayor.

So that’s the promise of America. That is why we love this country so much. That is why all of us are here. That’s why I am here. Some of us had parents or grandparents who said, maybe I can’t go to college, but someday my child will go to college. Maybe I can’t start my own business, but I promise you someday my child will start his or her own business. I may have to rent today, but someday my child will have a home of her own. My back may be tired, my hands may be cut, I may be working in a field, but someday –- someday -– my daughter will be mayor, or secretary of labor, or a Supreme Court justice.

Hermanos y hermanas, that promise is in our hands. It’s up to us to continue that story. It’s up to us to hand it down to all of our children –- Latino, black, white, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled, not disabled. (Applause.) We’re one family, and we need each other. And if we remember that and continue to focus on that, if we come together and work together as one people and summon the best in each other, I’m confident that promise will endure.

Thank you very much. God bless you. God bless the United States of America.

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