Thank you, and God bless you. I'm honored by your support. And I'm humbled by your faith in me.
What can I say about my brother and nominator Cecil Roberts? Thank you. I learn from you every single day.... I am and always will be UMWA, and proud to have you as my union president.
I owe a debt of gratitude, also, to my sister and the leader of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor... Maria Elena Durazo.... Thank you for your second.
The same is true of my brother Lee Saunders of AFSCME. Lee, you have been a great partner in working together to grow the labor movement, and I thank you for it.
And I am honored to serve with an outstanding team... with Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler... and Executive Vice-President Tefere Gebre. Thank you.
I want to thank my family here with us today for your support, for your patience and for always--and I mean always--being there.
Brothers and sisters, if we can see far... or do good works... or achieve lofty things ... any of us... it is because we stand on the shoulders of giants who have come before.
Think of all the giants on whose shoulders we stand....
I'm just one example that a man or woman can be carried far by those who came before.
I think of my grandfathers, who were organizers with the United Mine Workers--my union.
And I think of my father, who was a miner and an officer in that great union. I think of my union brothers and sisters who showed me the ropes, who taught me about life and unionism, who stood strong with me and for me when I was too young to even know what it meant to stand.
All of us here are fortunate, lucky even. We have all of this... these unions of the AFL-CIO, this legacy.
It's a gift we can only repay by giving it all... and more... to those who come along with us, and after us. That's why we're building a stronger, broader movement. We have a responsibility to lift others up, to give to those in need in this generation and in future generations what has already been given to us. And more.
Because, sisters and brothers, tonight in America a child will be going to sleep with a stomach aching with hunger. And right now, a young person with not enough education and no hope of a job is gearing up to break the law. Right now, a proud but scared college graduate is wondering how on earth she'll pay her college loans. Right now, a hard-working immigrant who has done nothing wrong but seek a better life is sitting behind bars, waiting to be deported. Right now, a father is falling out of the middle class, facing the fact that he can't earn enough to raise his family the way he wants. A mother is struggling under the weight of life as a minimum wage-earner right now.
Who will speak for them? Who will fight for them? We will.
We will be the movement America needs us to be. Because we must be.
My friends, right now, we will reach our brothers and sisters, our working families, our communities... right where they are... so every kid can get a fair shake for an excellent education and a good job, so we can eliminate the mass incarceration that stunts the lives of so many families and costs our society... and our people... so dearly. And so we all can share in the prosperity we create.
My friends, we are a nation of immigrants. Immigrants are vital to the American Dream. And we must walk with today's immigrants every step of the way to comprehensive immigration reform with protection of workers' rights, including a real and workable path to citizenship.
We are a nation of working people, and together we will stand tall, lift each other up until we rise as one, and speak as one. Because we are one people. One movement. Working together. Fighting together. Building together.
Together we will march in solidarity to take America back from the corporations and make it a nation once again of the people, by the people and for the people.
That's the future we can have and will have and must have. That's the nation we'll live for and reach for and strive for, sisters and brothers, and we will not stop until we can say... without any doubt... that America works for the people who work!
That's why we're here together. That's why we are the AFL-CIO.
Thank you again. God bless you.