6 September 2012, Charlotte, North Carolina, USA
It's an honor to be here tonight. I speak to you not as a representative of young Hollywood, but as a representative of the many millions of young Americans, particularly young women, who depend on public and nonprofit programs to help them survive.
I grew up in New York City with four siblings. My father barely made enough to get by. We moved every year, and we finally settled in a housing development for lower middle income families. We went to public schools and depended on programs for school transport and lunches, as did most of my friends. My girlfriends from high school to this day still depend on Planned Parenthood and often Medicaid for important health care services.
In 2008, less than half of all eligible voters between the ages of 18 and 24 voted. Young America, why are we only speaking with half our voice when so many issues at stake here directly affect us? You know who I'm voting for. I'm not going to tell you who to vote for. I'm here to ask you to commit to vote.
It's never been easier than now. Go to commit.BarackObama.com to register, to find your polling location and any other information you need. It's that easy.
Earlier this week, Chelsea Clinton reminded us that we are the generation whose voices haven't been heard. Vote so that your voice is heard. Over the last two days, we've been reminded of something that perhaps we forgot: what has been accomplished, and what is at stake.
Whether we can get health care, afford college, be guaranteed equal pay—all at risk. And that's why I'm here today—to use whatever attention I'm fortunate enough to receive to shed the spotlight on what's at stake for all of us.
When I was a little girl, my mother—a registered Democrat—would take me into the polling booth, and tell me which buttons to press and when to pull the lever. Is that even legal? I remember the excitement I felt in that secret box, and feeling like my mom's vote wasn't just about the candidate, it was about our family—and all the families just like ours.
This last election, I finally got to punch those buttons for me, for real. I wore my "I voted" pin the whole day. It was my finest accessory. And this year, on November 6th, I'm filled with that same enthusiasm, that same pride, to press the button to reelect President Barack Obama!
So get out there and exercise your right to vote.