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Posted under: Politics Culture

These 12 Powerful Barack Obama Quotes Are A Reminder That Change Can Still Come

Forever POTUS.

Barack Obama was the first Black president, and one of his many exceptional qualities was his oratory skill.

His presidency left its mark on American history and included numerous memorable quotes.

1. "You can't let your failures define you – you have to let them teach you."

At an event where Obama was lecturing students about posting "stupid stuff" on social media in 2009, The Daily Mail reported, the conversation transitioned into accomplishing goals and the hardships of accepting failure. He used J.K. Rowling, whose first Harry Potter book was rejected 12 times before publication, and Michael Jordan, who was cut from his high school basketball team, as excellent examples of stars who experienced multiple rejections before enjoying tremendous success. 

2. "Keep exploring. Keep dreaming. Keep asking why. Don't settle for what you already know. Never stop believing in the power of your ideas, your imagination, your hard work to change the world."

The aforementioned was spoken at the White House Science Fair where young inventors got the opportunity to meet Obama, , HuffPost reported. Some of the inventors, like one 6-year-old Girl Scout who built a page-turning device out of Legos to help individuals who are paralyzed or have arthritis, inspired Obama to think outside of the box.

3. "When ignorant folks want to advertise their ignorance, you don't really have to do anything, you just let them talk."

Believe it or not, this 2014 quote from a Joint White House Convention with Prime Minister Najib of Malaysia has nothing to do with current President Donald Trump. It was another racist billionaire named Donald Sterling — the former owner of the Los Angeles Clippers before it was discovered he'd made disparaging remarks about Black people.

4. "Our thoughts and prayers are not enough...it’s time to take action."

After his presidency, it is rare to see Obama visibly upset or emotional. The observations of the former president's calm demeanor have been the subject of jokes such as Obama needing an "Anger Translator" to convey his honest feelings.

Viewers understood his stance on gun violence and felt his pain as he appropriately expressed his frustration about a Republican-controlled Congress not passing his proposed gun control laws following the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting that left 20 children dead.

5. "After my election, there was talk of a post-racial America. Such a vision, however well-intended, was never realistic."

In his farewell address to the nation, Obama told viewers that despite his election as  the first Black president, racism is still very much alive and well. 

6. "I believe when women succeed, America succeeds."

Obama is widely thought of as the first president to embrace feminism with equal pay being one of his major talking points at the State of the Union address.

7. "The best judge of whether or not a country is going to develop is how it treats its women."

In 2008, Obama was interviewed by Ladies Home Journal about growing up with an absentee father, and in that interview, he solidified his place as a feminist president. 

8. "Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law."

In his January 2013 inaugural address, the 44th president called upon today's generation to promote equality. 

9. "Find somebody to be successful for. Raise their hopes. Rise to their needs."


At a commencement address at Arizona State University, it was reported by The New York Times that Obama told the graduating class of 2009 that obtaining a degree should mean more than receiving a complete education. It is about serving a community that could benefit from the skills of young people.

10. "We lose ourselves when we compromise the very ideals that we fight to defend. And we honor those ideals by upholding them not when it's easy, but when it is hard."

In his acceptance speech for the Nobel Prize for Peace, HuffPost reported that although Obama admits the U.S. has to engage in wars to set the standard, he notes that conducting torture cannot be justified and that it would defeat his purpose.

11. "Each of us deserves the freedom to pursue our own version of happiness. No one deserves to be bullied."

In a tweet from 2010, Obama condemns the act of bullying. The tweet was a part of a campaign called It Gets Better, a global movement focused on the empowerment of LGBTQ+ youth. It was during this time children committing suicide due to bullying, especially those within the LGBTQ space, were getting national attention.

12. "Your voice can change the world."


Obama had a group of labor union workers in Cincinnati pumped up during an annual AFL–CIO Labor Day picnic. 

It was during this time when one of labor's leading priorities in the healthcare reform debate was whether there should be a public option. Obama got the crowd excited after he retold his "Fired up and ready to go" story, The Hill reported.

The story was, and honestly still is, motivational. Obama followed up his story by saying, "It just goes to show you how one voice can change a room. And if it can change a room, it can change a city. And if it can change a city, it can change a state. If it can change a state, it can change a nation. If it can change a nation, it can change the world."

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