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January 26, 2023
Speaking at the Culture of Democracy Summit at Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles’ Exposition Park on Monday, former first lady Michelle Obama urged Americans not to “sit out or stay at home” this election season, warning of our “fading” democracy.
“I want to implore every American who cares about our democracy not just to get angry — but to get active. We’ve got to change the way we think about our democracy and the way we participate in it,” the former first lady said during her keynote address at the summit of a national voting organization she helped create. “Not just every two to four years, but routinely. I’m calling on anyone who cares to step up for our democracy.”
Condemning what she described as abusive gerrymandering practices and voting restrictions, Obama said, “Protecting and expanding our democracy is the best and only path out of this mess,” adding, “Our democracy is fading.”
“No one has the luxury to sit out or stay at home just because you’re not feeling excited enough,” she said. “If you don’t vote, other people will.”
Her speech marked the conclusion of When We All Vote’s inaugural Culture of Democracy Summit. Mrs. Obama helped launch When We All Vote in 2018. The event featured an array of celebrities, including actress and singer Selena Gomez, who introduced the former first lady.
“The people in elected positions impact all of us and make decisions on the issues we care about, and this November we will decide who will serve,” Gomez said. “But we can’t ignore that a lot of people don’t vote — that’s why we’re here, to change the culture around voting in each every election.”
The When We All Vote initiative is supported by co-Chairs Stephen Curry, Becky G, Selena Gomez, Tom Hanks, H.E.R., Liza Koshy, Jennifer Lopez, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Janelle Monae, Chris Paul, Megan Rapinoe, Shonda Rhimes, Bretman Rock, Kerry Washington and Rita Wilson.
This was Obama’s first in-person appearance before a larger audience since the start of the pandemic, according to event organizers. She previously addressed When We All Vote in 2018 before the midterm elections.
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: SAN DIEGO UNION TRIBUNE