President Obama asserted in a video message for LGBT activists made public on Friday that social change has “always come from ordinary Americans” acting to make a difference.
“I’ve always said that the change we need in this country — real change — doesn’t come from Washington, it comes from folks like you,” Obama said. “Change has always come from ordinary Americans who sit in or stand up or marched to demand it.”
The video was prepared for the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force’s “Creating Change” conference, which took place this year in Atlanta and was attended by more than 3,000 people.
In his message, Obama drew upon the early struggles of the LGBT rights movement — including the fight to declassify being gay as a mental disorder and the plight of the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s — as he talked about LGBT activists’ success in producing change over the course of the 40 years the Task Force has been in existence.
“Decades ago, in the dark days when most doctors declared being gay a mental disorder, you organized and rallied to change their minds,” Obama said. “When thousands suffered in the shadows during the early days of the AIDS epidemic, you cast a bright light on their pain. Today, you’re helping lead the way to a future where everyone is treated with dignity and respect.”
Obama’s message to “Creating Change” attendees comes on the heels of his inaugural address on Monday in which he said, “Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law — for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.”
The video is below: