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First Lady Michelle Obama To Address 2014 Graduating Seniors.


 

By Jueseppi B.

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First Lady Michelle Obama to Address 2014 Graduating Seniors

This year, First Lady Michelle Obama will deliver commencement addresses at Dillard University, an assembly of high schools in the Topeka, Kansas Public School District, and the District of Columbia College Access Program (DC-CAP). All of these institutions are supporting the First Lady’s higher education initiative and doing their part to answer the President’s call to ensure that by the year 2020, America once again has the highest proportion of college graduates in the world.

The First Lady will deliver remarks at Dillard University because of its legacy as one of America’s top historically black universities; she will address high school students in Topeka, Kansas – home of the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case, Brown vs. Board of Education – which will celebrate its 60thanniversary the same day as the First Lady’s remarks; and she will deliver remarks at the Graduation Celebration of the DC College Access Program (DC-CAP) to highlight the important work that CAP is doing to ensure that first  generation, low income students are graduating from high school ready to pursue a higher degree.

The commencement addresses will be open press, but space is limited. Members of the media who wish to cover the commencements must RSVP directly to the contacts listed below.

Dillard University on Saturday, May 10 at 10:00 AM (Central)

First Lady Michelle Obama will deliver the commencement address to the class of 2014 at Dillard University in New Orleans, LA on Saturday, May 10 at 10:00 AM Central. Dillard is a private four-year liberal arts historically black university with a history dating back to 1869. Academically, Dillard is listed on: Forbes’ 2013 list of Top Colleges and Universities in the U.S., top 60 liberal arts institutions by the Washington Monthly (2013), and is consistently one of U.S News and World Report’s top Historically Black Colleges and Universities.  The University has been fully engaged in the economic development of the Gentilly community in which it is located as well as the city of New Orleans.  Dillard University partners with 12 community organizations, businesses and local schools in implementing such projects as home buyer workshops, community health fairs, edible gardens and water sustainability. Its Minority Health and Health Disparities Research Center also partners with local health institutions to study and address diseases such as diabetes, obesity and colon cancer, which are common to underserved individuals in the New Orleans community.

High Schools in the Topeka, KS Public School District on May 17 at 1:00 PM (Central)

First Lady Michelle Obama will deliver the commencement address to graduating seniors from high schools in the Topeka, KS Public School District on May 17 at 1:00 PM Central.  Topeka Public Schools is located in the capital city of Kansas and is the home of the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case, Brown v. Board of Education, which will celebrate its 60thanniversary the same day as the First Lady’s remarks.  Nearly 1,000 seniors will listen to the First Lady before crossing the stage to receive their diplomas.  Topeka Public School District is a diversified urban district with nearly 14,000 students and 2,400 employees.  The school district has 29 schools, including two magnet schools, three signature schools and the Topeka Center for Advanced Learning and Careers.  The largest urban prairie in the U.S. is also part of the Kanza Education and Science Park making it a destination for learning.

DC College Access Program (DC-CAP) Graduation Celebration on June 19 at 6:00 PM (Eastern)

Mrs. Obama will deliver remarks at the Graduation Celebration for the DC College Access Program (DC-CAP) on Thursday, June 19 at 6:00 PM Eastern at The Mayflower Hotel in Washington, DC. DC-CAP is a private, nonprofit organization dedicated to helping DC high school students prepare for, enroll in, and graduate from college. The overwhelming majority of students served by DC-CAP are from low-income, minority, single-parent households and are the first in their families to attend college. DC-CAP provides student and parent college readiness counseling starting in 9th grade helping families navigate the college application and financial aid process throughout the high school years. DC-CAP also provides integral support and financial assistance for students while in college. Since DC-CAP’s inception in 1999, the program has played a critical role in helping to double the number of students enrolling in college and tripling the number who graduate in DC.  The event is an opportunity to applaud their achievement and honor their families who supported them.

Additional information on Commencement Addresses by First Lady Michelle Obama:

In 2009, Mrs. Obama spoke at the graduation of University of California Merced’s first full senior class. She also addressed the Washington Math and Science Tech Public Charter High School Graduation in Washington DC. In 2010, Mrs. Obama addressed graduates of the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, the George Washington University, and the Anacostia Senior High School. In 2011, Mrs. Obama delivered commencement addresses at the University of Northern Iowa, Spelman College, and Quantico Middle High School. The First Lady also spoke to graduates and families at West Point. In 2012, Mrs. Obama spoke at the graduation of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech), North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University (North Carolina A&T), and Oregon State University (OSU). In 2013, Mrs. Obama addressed graduates of Eastern Kentucky State University, Bowie State University, and Martin Luther King Jr. Academic Magnet High School.

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TheObamaCrat™ Wake-Up Call For Tuesday The 15th Of April. Happy Passover AND Happy Tax Day!


 

By Jueseppi B.

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President Barack Obama on Tuesday meets with faith leaders to boost prospects for passing immigration reform (right now not very good), meets with Defense Sec. Chuck Hagel and then hosts his annual White House seder, with the core group of guests Obama 2008 campaign staffers who were in Harrisbug, Pa.  battling Hillary Rodham Clinton in the brutal Democratic primary on Passover 2008. The staffers put together a seder at a hotel on the campaign trail and Obama kept the tradition going when he reached the White House.

 

The campaign seder was led by Eric Lesser, then the campaign’s chief baggage wrangler who went on to become an assistant to then White House senior adviser David Axelrod and is now running for the state senate in Massachusetts.

 

White House Schedule – April 15, 2014

 

In the morning, the President will receive the Presidential Daily Briefing in the Oval Office. This meeting is closed press.

 

Later in the morning, the President will meet with faith leaders to discuss the importance of taking action to pass commonsense immigration reform in the Oval Office. There will be a stills only pool spray at the top of the meeting.

 

In the afternoon, the President will meet with senior advisors, where he will also observe a moment of silence to mark the one-year anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing. This meeting and moment of silence in the Oval Office are closed press.

 

Later in the afternoon, the President will meet with Secretary of Defense Hagel in the Oval Office. This meeting is closed press.

 

In the evening, the President and the First Lady will mark the beginning of Passover with a Seder at the White House with friends and staff. The Seder in the Old Family Dining Room is closed press.

 

 

THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 15th, 2014

 

DAILY GUIDANCE AND SCHEDULE FOR
TUESDAY, April 15th, 2014

 

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Tuesday, April 15th 2014 All Times ET

 

 

7:30 AM: The Vice President and Secretary of State John Kerry meet for breakfast, Naval Observatory.

 

 

10:00 AM: The President receives the Presidential Daily Briefing, Oval Office.

 

 

11:30 AM: The President meets with faith leaders, Oval Office.

 

 

12:00 PM: The Vice President and Dr. Biden attend a Tribute to those affected by the tragic events of April 15, 2013, Hynes Convention Center.

 

 

12:15 PM: Press Briefing by Press Secretary Jay Carney, The Brady Press Briefing Room.

 

 

2:40 PM: The President meets with senior advisors and observes a moment of silence, Oval Office.

 

 

3:45 PM: The President meets with Secretary of Defense Hagel, Oval Office.

 

 

6:30 PM: The President and First Lady mark the beginning of Passover with a Seder at the White House, Old Family Dining Room.

 

 

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On Tuesday, the President and the First Lady will mark the beginning of Passover with a Seder at the White House with friends and staff.

On Wednesday, President Obama and Vice President Biden will travel to Leetsdale, Pennsylvania for an event on the economy. Further details on the President and Vice President’s travel to Pennsylvania will be made available in the coming days.

On Thursday, the President will welcome the Wounded Warrior Project’s Soldier Ride to the White House in celebration of the eighth annual Soldier Ride.  A cycling event to help Wounded Warriors restore their physical and emotional well-being, the Soldier Ride also raises awareness of our nation’s Wounded Warriors who battle the physical and psychological damages of war.

On Friday, the President will meet with the National Commander and Executive Director of the American Legion.  Later, he will welcome the United States Naval Academy Football Team to the White House to present them with the 2013 Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy.

 

 

 

April 2014: Photo of the Day

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First Lady Michelle Obama visits with families working on crafts at Maryland Fisher House IV at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., April 14, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

First Lady Michelle Obama visits with families working on crafts at Maryland Fisher House IV at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., April 14, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

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First Lady Michelle Obama speaks to Joshua Seal and his son Wyatt

First Lady Michelle Obama speaks to Joshua Seal and his son Wyatt

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First Lady Michelle Obama wears stickers on her face that where placed on her by 20-month-old Lily Oppelt,

First Lady Michelle Obama wears stickers on her face that where placed on her by 20-month-old Lily Oppelt,

1st Lady Michelle has stickers put on her face by 20-month-old Lily Oppelt at Walter Reed Hospital.

1st Lady Michelle has stickers put on her face by 20-month-old Lily Oppelt at Walter Reed Hospital.

1st Lady Michelle meets 6-month-old Kyleigh Garmon at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center today .

1st Lady Michelle meets 6-month-old Kyleigh Garmon at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center today .

 

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White House LIVE!!! Streaming

 

 

 

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Speeches and Remarks

 

Remarks by the First Lady at Fisher House Family Easter Event

 

Remarks by the President at Easter Prayer Breakfast

 

 

Statements and Releases

 

Readout of the President’s Call with President Putin

At Moscow’s request, President Obama spoke with Russian President Putin today about the situation in Ukraine.  The President expressed grave concern about Russian government support for the actions of armed, pro-Russian separatists who threaten to undermine and destabilize the government of Ukraine.  The President emphasized that all irregular forces in the country need to lay down their arms, and he urged President Putin to use his influence with these armed, pro-Russian groups to convince them to depart the buildings they have seized.

 

The President reiterated the importance of Russia withdrawing its troops from Ukraine’s border in order to defuse tensions.  President Obama noted that despite the rhetoric from Russian officials, the government of Ukraine has acted with remarkable restraint, and he praised the Ukrainian government’s efforts to unify the country by holding free and fair presidential elections on May 25, pursuing inclusive constitutional reform and proposing concrete steps toward the decentralization of power.  The President noted Russia’s growing political and economic isolation as a result of its actions in Ukraine and made clear that the costs Russia already has incurred will increase if those actions persist.

 

The President noted the upcoming contact group meeting in Geneva and said that while he continues to believe that a diplomatic solution is still possible, it cannot succeed in an environment of Russian military intimidation on Ukraine’s borders, armed provocation within Ukraine, and escalatory rhetoric by Kremlin officials.

 

 

Statement by the President

A year ago, tragedy struck at the 117th Boston Marathon.  Four innocent people were killed that week, and hundreds more were wounded.  Today, we remember Krystle Campbell, Lingzi Lu, Martin Richard, and Sean Collier.  And we send our thoughts and prayers to those still struggling to recover.

 

We also know that the most vivid images from that day were not of smoke and chaos, but of compassion, kindness and strength: A man in a cowboy hat helping a wounded stranger out of harm’s way; runners embracing loved ones, and each other; an EMT carrying a spectator to safety.  Today, we recognize the incredible courage and leadership of so many Bostonians in the wake of unspeakable tragedy.  And we offer our deepest gratitude to the courageous firefighters, police officers, medical professionals, runners and spectators who, in an instant, displayed the spirit Boston was built on – perseverance, freedom and love.

 

One year later, we also stand in awe of the men and women who continue to inspire us – learning to stand, walk, dance and run again.  With each new step our country is moved by the resilience of a community and a city.  And when the sun rises over Boylston Street next Monday – Patriot’s Day – hundreds of thousands will come together to show the world the meaning of Boston Strong as a city chooses to run again.

 

 

Readout of the President’s Meeting with the Global Development Council

 

Statement by NSC Spokesperson Caitlin Hayden on Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Lisa Monaco’s Meeting with Yemeni Minister of Finance Sakhir Wajih and Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Mohammed Saadi

 

Readout of the President’s Call with President Hollande of France

 

Vice President Biden to Travel to Brazil for the FIFA World Cup

 

Statement by the Press Secretary on the Visit of President Jose Mujica Cordano of Uruguay

 

White House Announces 2014 Easter Egg Roll Program and Talent Line-up

 

Statement by Vice President Biden on the Passing of Nuala Pell

 

Statement from the President on Passover

 

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Get Your 2013 Federal Taxpayer Receipt

 

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The Patient Protection And Affordable Care Act (ObamaCARES) Facts:

 

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ACA enrollment through exchanges reached 7.1 million, ahead of early estimates.

* The ACA is quickly reducing the uninsured rate.

* Thanks in part to the ACA, health care spending has slowed dramatically and health care inflation is at its lowest point in 50 years.

* According to the Department of Commerce, the ACA is also having a positive effect on personal incomes.

* And according to the CBO, the system is even more affordable than previously projected.

This is a system that’s working. The right can either acknowledge reality or embrace delusions and conspiracies, but the facts are quite evident for those who care to look. The Patient Protection And Affordable Care Act (ObamaCARES) is here to stay.

 

 

Remember when Barack said this would happen 2 years ago....

Remember when Barack said this would happen 2 years ago….

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USPS Harvey Milk Forever Stamp White House Ceremony

 

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Following the announcement that the United States Postal Service first-day-of-issue dedication ceremony of the Harvey Milk Forever Stamp will take place at the White House on May 22, Harvey Milk’s nephew and co-founder of the Harvey Milk Foundation Stuart Milk released the following statement:

“A stamp dedication ceremony on May 22 at the White House comes with incredibly special significance for both place and date. President Obama and his administration have provided the nation with steadfast and trend setting leadership in support of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community in the US and abroad….

“The Milk family thanks President Obama and other allies and champions of LGBT inclusive diversity as exemplified by Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, all of the LGBT leaders who have stood on uncle Harvey’s shoulders to run for and serve openly in public office, and each and every LGBT individual who go about their daily life with authenticity, refusing to hide who they are and who they love. Together, all of us, continue to move humanity forward, bending that arc of the moral universe ever closer to justice.”

 

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President Obama speaks during a statement to the press following explosions near the finish line of the Boston Marathon in the briefing room of the White House April 15, 2013

President Obama speaks during a statement to the press following explosions near the finish line of the Boston Marathon in the briefing room of the White House April 15, 2013

Does anyone besides me see the irony in a traitor using the backdrop of the U.S. Constitution as he talks about the stolen NSA documents he has on the 5 laptops he took without permission...and gave to China & Russia?

Does anyone besides me see the irony in a traitor using the backdrop of the U.S. Constitution as he talks about the stolen NSA documents he has on the 5 laptops he took without permission…and gave to China & Russia?

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Barack After Dark™: The West Wing Week. National Action Network. The Obama/Biden Administrations Taxes.


 

By Jueseppi B.

 

 

This week, the President honored soldiers who lost their lives last week at Fort Hood, commemorated the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act, and picked up his pen to take action toward ensuring equal pay. Check out what else you may have missed in this week’s wrap up.

 

 

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West Wing Week 4/11/14 or, “Love Never Ends”

 

 

This week, the President honored Equal Pay Day and signed two executive orders to support efforts to level the playing field for women, pushed for better access to skills-based high school training, hosted the Prime Minister of Tunisia, and traveled with the First Lady to the memorial at Fort Hood and then to Austin, to honor the 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act.

 

 

 

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President Obama Speaks at the National Action Network Convention

 

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President Obama Speaks at the National Action Network Convention

 

Published on Apr 11, 2014

President Obama delivers remarks at the National Action Network’s 16th Annual Convention. April 11, 2014.

 

 

 

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President Obama and Vice President Biden’s 2013 Tax Returns

 

 

Today, the President released his 2013 federal income tax returns. He and the First Lady filed their income tax returns jointly and reported adjusted gross income of $481,098. The Obamas paid $98,169 in total tax.

 

The President and First Lady also reported donating $59,251 – or about 12.3 percent of their adjusted gross income – to 32 different charities. The largest reported gift to charity was $8,751 to the Fisher House Foundation. The President’s effective federal income tax rate is 20.4 percent. The President pushed for and signed into law legislation that makes the system more fair and helps the middle class by extending tax cuts to middle class and working families and asks the wealthiest Americans to pay their fair share. In 2013, as a result of his policies, the President was subject to limitations in tax preferences, as well as additional Medicare and investment income taxes, for high income earners. The President and First Lady also released their Illinois income tax return and reported paying $23,328 in state income tax.

 

DOWNLOAD THE OBAMAS’ TAX RETURNS

 

 

The Vice President and Dr. Jill Biden also released their 2013 federal income tax returns, as well as state income tax returns for both Delaware and Virginia. The Bidens filed joint federal and combined Delaware income tax returns. Dr. Biden filed a separate non-resident Virginia tax return. Together, they reported adjusted gross income of $407,009. The Bidens paid $96,378 in total federal tax for 2013, amounting to an effective tax rate of 23.7 percent. They also paid $14,644 in Delaware income tax and Dr. Biden paid $3,470 in Virginia income tax. The Bidens contributed $20,523 to charity in 2013, including contributing the royalties received from Dr. Biden’s children’s book, net of taxes, to the USO.

 

DOWNLOAD THE BIDENS’ TAX RETURNS

 

 


 

 

Learn more:

Jay Carney is the White House Press Secretary.

 

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Remarks by the President Nominating Sylvia Mathews Burwell as Secretary of Health and Human Services

 

The President Nominates Sylvia Mathews Burwell: Secretary Of Health And Human Services.

 

First Lady Michelle Obama, Dr. Jill Biden, Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter And Senator Elizabeth Dole Hosting The Joining Forces Initiative For Caregivers.

 

Statement by President Obama on the Retirement of Deputy Secretary of State William J. Burns

 

Presidential Nomination Sent to the Senate

 

President Obama Announces Presidential Delegation to the Holy See to Attend the Canonization Mass of Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II

 

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April 11th 2014: Photo of the Day

 

President Barack Obama reaches down to 6-month-old Sabina Johnson, from Beaumont, Texas, who was visiting the Oval Office with her uncle, Elbek Elibaev, for his Make-A-Wish visit at the White House, April 11, 2014 (Photo by Pete Souza)

President Barack Obama reaches down to 6-month-old Sabina Johnson, from Beaumont, Texas, who was visiting the Oval Office with her uncle, Elbek Elibaev, for his Make-A-Wish visit at the White House, April 11, 2014 (Photo by Pete Souza)

 

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In Case You Missed It: Fort Hood Memorial Service. LBJ Library Civil Rights Summit.


 

By Jueseppi B.

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Memorial Service at Fort Hood – April 9th 2014

 

 

 

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President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama board Air Force One

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama board Air Force One

 

President Obama at Fort Hood: “It Is Love, Tested by Tragedy, That Brings Us Together Again.”

 

Today, the President and First Lady traveled to Killeen, Texas to attend a memorial ceremony at the Fort Hood Military Base, remembering those who lost their lives in last week’s tragic shooting at the base.

During his remarks at the memorial, the President explained that we must honor their lives “not in word or talk, but in deed and in truth.”

 

We must honor these men with a renewed commitment to keep our troops safe, not just in battle but on the home front, as well. In our open society, and at vast bases like this, we can never eliminate every risk. But as a nation, we can do more to help counsel those with mental health issues, to keep firearms out of the hands of those who are having such deep difficulties. As a military, we must continue to do everything in our power to secure our facilities and spare others this pain.

We must honor these men by doing more to care for our fellow Americans living with mental illness, civilian and military. Today, four American soldiers are gone. Four Army families are devastated. As Commander-in-Chief, I’m determined that we will continue to step up our efforts — to reach our troops and veterans who are hurting, to deliver to them the care that they need, and to make sure we never stigmatize those who have the courage to seek help.

And finally, we must honor these men by recognizing that they were members of a generation that has borne the burden of our security in more than a decade of war. Now our troops are coming home, and by the end of this year our war in Afghanistan will finally be over.

Read the President’s full remarks here.

 

 

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President Obama Speaks at a Memorial Service for Victims of the Shooting at Fort Hood

 

Published on Apr 9, 2014

President Obama says that we must honor the lives of those killed in the tragedy at Fort Hood “not in word or talk, but in deed and in truth.” April 9, 2014.

 

 

 

 

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President and Mrs. Obama at today's Fort Hood memorial ceremony

President and Mrs. Obama at today’s Fort Hood memorial ceremony

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President Obama accompanied by the First Lady lays a coin for each of the victims at Fort Hood

President Obama accompanied by the First Lady lays a coin for each of the victims at Fort Hood

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama pay their respects at #FortHood to the three fallen soldiers.

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama pay their respects at #FortHood to the three fallen soldiers.

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama arrive for a memorial service at Fort Hood.

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama arrive for a memorial service at Fort Hood.

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama pay their respects during a memorial service at #FortHood.

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama pay their respects during a memorial service at #FortHood.

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Meeting of the President’s Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons

 

Published on Apr 9, 2014

The President’s Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking, which was established to coordinate federal efforts to combat trafficking in persons, holds its annual meeting at the White House. April 8, 2014.

 

 

 

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LBJ Library Civil Rights Summit – Day 1 – Morning Panels (12:30-4:00 pm CDT)

 

Streamed live on Apr 8, 2014

Time: Tuesday April 8, 2014 12:35pm – 1:40pm CST
Panel: Gay Marriage: A Civil Right?

Time: Tuesday April 8, 2014 1:40pm – 2:40pm
Panel: Pathway to the American Dream: Immigration Policy in the 21st Century

Time: Tuesday April 8, 2014 2:40pm – 4:00pm
Panel: Music and Social Consciousness

 

 

 

 

LBJ Library Civil Rights Summit – Day 1 – Evening Panel (6:00-7:30 pm CDT)

 

Streamed live on Apr 8, 2014

Time: Tuesday April 8, 2014 6:00pm – 7:30pm
Panel: Conversation with Former President Jimmy Carter

 

 

 

 

 

LBJ Library Civil Rights Summit – Day 2 – Morning Panels (12:30-4:00 pm CDT)

 

Streamed live on Apr 9, 2014

Time: Wednesday April 9, 2014 12:35pm – 1:40pm
Panel: LBJ and MLK: Fulfilling a Promise, Realizing a Dream

Time: Wednesday April 9, 2014 1:40pm – 2:40pm
Panel: Sports: Leveling the Playing Field

Time: Wednesday April 9, 2014 2:40pm – 4:00pm
Panel: Heroes of the Civil Rights Movement: Views from the Front Line

 

 

 

 

 

LBJ Library Civil Rights Summit – Day 2 – Evening Panel (6:00-7:30 pm CDT)

 

Streamed live on Apr 9, 2014

Time: Wednesday April 9, 2014 6:00pm – 7:30pm
Panel: Address by Former President William Jefferson Clinton

 

 

 

 

Legendary sports figures weigh in at Civil Rights Summit

 

Published on Apr 9, 2014

Two of the greatest athletes of all time who have both been fighting the fight for civil rights since the 60s spoke Wednesday at the Civil Rights Summit at the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library.

 

 

 

 

LBJ Civil Rights Summit Google Hangout with President Jimmy Carter

 

Streamed live on Apr 8, 2014

Former U.S. President and humanitarian Jimmy Carter will answer questions about the Civil Rights Summit as well as his new book, A Call To Action: Women, Religion, Violence, and Power.

The public is encouraged to ask President Carter questions in advance on Google+ via https://plus.google.com/events/cadh8u…, or using #SummitHangout on Twitter or Facebook.

http://www.civilrightssummit.org

 

 

 

 

 

 

LBJ Civil Rights Summit 

 

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Someone You Should Know: Ruslana Lyzhychko, Ukrainian Activist.


 

By Jueseppi B.

Ruslana_at_a_press_conference_in_Kiev

 

Why did Michelle Obama give a Ukrainian pop star the Women of Courage award?

First lady Michelle Obama with Eurovision singer Ruslana Lyzhychko of Ukranie. (Jewel Samad/ AFP/Getty Images)

First lady Michelle Obama with Eurovision singer Ruslana Lyzhychko of Ukranie. (Jewel Samad/ AFP/Getty Images)

 

On Tuesday morning, first lady Michelle Obama and Deputy Secretary of State Heather Higginbottom presented 10 women from around the world the Secretary of State’s Women of Courage award. They include a pioneer of the human rights movement in Tajikistan, a prominent leader in the field of maternal health and … a pop music star who won Eurovision in 2004?

 

These women are being recognized for their “exceptional courage and leadership in advocating for peace, justice, human rights, gender equality and women’s empowerment, often at great personal risk.”

 

So how does a pop star from Ukraine make the list?

 

Ruslana Lyzhychko — her fans call her Ruslana, first name only, like Madonna — rose to fame when she won the Eurovision competition for her performance of the song “Wild Dances.”  For the uninitiated, Eurovision is a “song contest” between representative musicians and bands from European countries. Winners include many well-known names including ABBA and Celine Dion, but the competition is best-known for its often over-the-top and cheesy music. It’s been described as “kitschy, genre-bending, makes no sense” and even “a trainwreck dry ice, pleather, men in boxes, operatic vampires and unfortunate babydoll outfits

 

These days, Ruslana sings with the protesters in Kiev’s Independence Square.

 

She took the streets during the November protests and quickly became a voice of the protesters. Ruslana spent long, cold nights onstage, often at the iconic blue piano, singing and rallying crowds as riot police rounded in. Her longest performances on the protests stage – singing her own songs and the national anthem – lasted up to 10 hours.

 

“I think of myself as a volunteer … showing people that we need to be here because there is no other way,” she said to Reuters in December. “Russia is our past, Europe must be our future,” she explained.

 

Even though Ruslana continues to be best known for her music, this isn’t the pop star’s first foray into politics. Her career in activism and humanitarian work began long before the protests started in 2013. She was an active participant in the 2004 Orange Revolution, became the first ever UNICEF National Ambassador in Ukraine in 2005, was speaking out for renewable energy in 2008 and now acts as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador.

 

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Ruslana Lyzhychko (UkrainianРуслана ЛижичкоRuslana Lyžyčko; born on 24 May 1973), known mononymously as Ruslana, is a World Music Award and Eurovision Song Contest winning artist, holding the title of People’s Artist of Ukraine. She is also a former MP serving as deputy in the Ukrainian parliament (Verkhovna Rada) for the Our Ukraine Party. Ruslana is the UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador in Ukraine. She is recognized as the most successful Ukrainian female solo artist internationally and was included in the top 10 most influential women of 2013 by the Forbes magazine. The U.S. Secretary of State honored her with the Woman of Courage Award in March 2014.

 

Ukrainian Pop Singer Ruslana Lyzhychko Receives Woman Of Courage Award

 

Published on Mar 4, 2014

Ukrainian pop singer Ruslana Lyzhychko received the International Women of Courage award at a ceremony in Washington on Tuesday (March 4) for her commitment to non-violence and national unity in the face of government corruption.

 

“Ruslana joined the demonstrations, spending her days on streets and her nights sleeping in cold tents, and every evening, in the face of impending police attacks and death threats, she performed the Ukrainian national anthem for the other demonstrators to reinforce the promise of a diverse and unified Ukraine,” U.S. Deputy Secretary Of State Heather Higginbottom said during the event at the State Department. U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama attended the ceremony.

 

Russell spoke about how Ruslana sang the Ukrainian national anthem night after night in Kiev, and calmed protesters one December evening, as news of a impending security sweep by Ukrainian riot police spread through the crowd.

 

“Anyone who was there that night will tell you how her rallying cries steadied the nerves of the protesters, giving them the courage they needed to successfully withstand more than two thousand riot police. They will tell you how crowds cheered as eventually the police retreated from a standoff that was intense, but ultimately peaceful. And, they will tell you how that night will go down in history as one of the EuroMaiden’s movement’s most amazing displays of unity and determination,” Higginbottom added.

 

The Ukrainian Eurovision song contest winner pushed her voice to the limit belting out songs nightly to keep up the morale of protesters camped out a snowy Kiev square, emerging as an unlikely figurehead of movement to oust President Viktor Yanukovich.

 

The Secretary of State’s International Women of Courage Award honors women who have showed courage to advocate human rights, equality and social progress, according to the State Department website.

http://www.theshortpenguin.com

 

 

 

 

Ruslana-Lyzhychko

 

She is a singer, songwriter, producer, musical conductor, multi-instrumentalist, dancer, voice actress and social activist. She writes, composes and produces her own songs and music videos. Since 28 December 1995 she has been married to Oleksandr Ksenofontov, a Ukrainian record producer. Together they have run the company Luxen Studio since 1993, producing radio and film trailers.

 

Ruslana was the first artist coming out from the former Soviet Union to officially receive a platinum disc, her Dyki tantsi album selling more than 170,000 copies in the first 100 days after its release, even without a supporting tour. This album is the best selling Ukrainian album to date, together with its English version, more than 1,000,000 copies being sold solely in Ukraine.

 

She won the 2004 Eurovision Song Contest with the song Wild Dances receiving 280 points, which at that time was a record of points. Following her victory, she rose to fame in Europe and became one of the biggest pop stars from the Eastern part of the continent. Her winning songWild Dances has dominated the European charts for 97 weeks peaking at number one in Belgiumfor 10 consecutive weeks. Later that year, she received a World Music Award in Las Vegas.

 

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Also in 2004, she was among the top 15 performers in a ranking conducted in Belgium with her singles “Wild Dances” and “Dance with the Wolves“. Ruslana was named the most popular person in Belgium, the sexiest girl in Greece, the most influential public person in Ukraine and was the first foreigner who received the award of the Federation of Journalists in Turkey.

 

In 2005, Ruslana designed the cover for Jonathan Safran Foer‘s “The Unabridged Pocket Book of Lightening” which was produced as part of Penguin Books‘ 70th birthday celebrations.

 

In 2006, her song “Wild Dances” has been named the best ever Eurovision winning song by a survey arranged by the German public television broadcaster ARD. During the television program Grand Prix HitlisteWild Dances was presented as the winner, ahead of famous songs, such as Waterloo and Germany’s only winner (at the time), Ein Bißchen Frieden, which finished sixth and twelfth, respectively. The programme was viewed by a television audience of approximately six million people in Germany.

 

In 2008, she was elected by Rockstar Games to play ‘DJ Ruslana’ in the open world action-adventure video game Grand Theft Auto IV. The Ukrainian version of her song Wild Dances has been featured on the soundtrack of the game and became one of the most popular tunes among the fans. Grand Theft Auto IV broke the Guinness World Records for “Highest grossing video game in 24 hours” and “Highest Revenue Generated by an Entertainment Product in 24 Hours”. It sold 3.6 million copies on day one, which equalled roughly $310 million in revenue. Also in 2008, she signed a major contract with Warner Music for the worldwide release of her second international album called Wild Energy.

 

In 2009, she was invited to attend the 6th Asia Song Festival which took place in SeoulKorea. Even if she was supposed to receive only an award for her contribution to the cultural exchange between Ukraine and Asia in music, in the end she also won the main award of the festival, receiving the golden statue for the best artist of the Asia Song Festival 2009.

 

In 2011, her song Wild Dances has been used by the American gymnast Jordyn Wieber as the soundtrack for her floor exercise. Wieber eventually became the 2011 World Women’s All-Around Champion and won the golden medal at the 2012 Summer Olympics performing her floor exercise on Ruslana’s song.

 

 

THE BEST NATIONAL ANTHEM OF UKRAINE, RUSLANA, LIGHTS, 11.12.2013 KIEV, THE INDEPENDENCE SQUARE

 

 

 

Ruslana reading out an official resolution of Euromaidan, 29 November 2013

Ruslana reading out an official resolution of Euromaidan, 29 November 2013

 

Political activities

 

2004: Orange Revolution

In autumn 2004 Ruslana actively supported the democratic processes in Ukraine known as the Orange Revolution, to which her song “Dance with the Wolves” was devoted. She declared her support for Viktor Yushchenko during the disputed Ukrainian presidential elections. She became one of the prominent figures that addressed the mass crowds rallying in support of Yushchenko’s demand that his original defeat be declared fraudulent. From spring 2006 to summer 2007 she was a Member of the Ukrainian Parliament for the party Our Ukraine.

 

Due to political reasons the music video supporting her second single extracted from the Wild Dances album, Dance with the Wolves was censored in Russia as it contains fragments showing Ruslana in the Independence Square.

 

Ruslana endorsed Yulia Tymoshenko during the 2010 Ukrainian presidential election and actively supported her candidature during the election campaign.

 

In December 2012 Ruslana launched the human rights campaign Не мовчи (Don’t keep silent) which challenges the juridical system of Ukraine. In particular she supports the case of Dmytro and Sergiy Pavlichenko who claim to have been forced to admit a murder they have not committed. The father and son were convicted of killing a judge of a district court in Kyiv and sentenced to life imprisonment and 13 years in prison respectively. The verdict was widely criticized mainly by football fans. Ruslana dedicated her song and video Це – Ей-форі-Я (This is Euphoria) to the case of the Pavlichenkos who according to her are victims of a misjudgement.

 

 

Ruslana with José Manuel Barroso and Henri Malosse at the Plenary Session of the EESC in Brussels

Ruslana with José Manuel Barroso and Henri Malosse at the Plenary Session of the EESC in Brussels

 

 

2013–2014: Euromaidan

In November 2013, she was one of the leading figures of Euromaidan which were a series of protests in Ukraine that began on November 22, 2013, when Ukrainian citizens started spontaneous protests in the capital of UkraineKiev. On the previous day, on November 21, 2013, the Ukrainian government suspended preparations for signing an Association Agreementwith the European Union.

 

She was one of the leading figures of the protests. Since the second week of protest she has been on the stage on Kiev‘s Maidan Nezalezhnosti virtually all night (up to ten hours a night). In an 11 December interview with The Daily Beast she explained her role in the opposition as “charging Maidan with freedom-loving energy” and insisted she “hated” politics. And has denied supporting any single leader. Ruslana also stated “if needed, I will sing every night in Maidan until next presidential election in 2015”. Two make-up artists were at her disposal during the protest.

 

As the protest leader, Ruslana noted the presence of paid provocateurs who have instigated fights in the otherwise peaceful protests.

Her involvement in the pro-European movement from Kiev has been featured on many international publications, Ruslana being regarded as a true heroine of Ukraine. While the German press regarded her as ‘Kiev’s queen of the night’, the Spanish newspaper El Mundo compared her to Jeanne d’Arc. Due to her active involvement in the EuroMaidan, Ruslana has been compared to Katniss Everdeen, the main heroine of The Hunger Games trilogy.

 

Due to active role in the protests, she was included in the top 10 most successful women of 2013 by the Forbes magazine. Also, she was named ‘person of the year’ by the Business Ukraine magazine.

 

In order to demand from the EU support for the EuroMaidan revolution Ruslana met in Brussels with key EU officials including José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, and Henri Malosse, President of theEuropean Economic and Social Committee (EESC) in January 2014. After her speech at the 495th Plenary Session a resolution was adopted by the EESC which supports the Ukrainian civil society and its democratic rights.

 

 

Social commitment

 

First Lady Michelle Obama and Deputy Secretary Heather Higginbottom pose for a photo with 2014 Secretary of State’s International Women of Courage Award Winner Ruslana Lyzhychko

First Lady Michelle Obama and Deputy Secretary Heather Higginbottom pose for a photo with 2014 Secretary of State’s International Women of Courage Award Winner Ruslana Lyzhychko

 

Ruslana was appointed Good Will Ambassador of Ukraine by the UNICEF and combats trafficking in human beings. She released two video clips which aim to make potential victims aware of the dangers of human trafficking. In February 2008 Ruslana performed at an anti-human trafficking event in Vienna, Austria, organized by UN.GIFT (The United Nations Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking) in front of 117 international delegations. Her song Not for Sale became the anthem of the anti-trafficking campaign.

 

Within the frames of the Eurovision Song Contest 2005 in Kiev she gave a charity concert for children suffering from the consequences of the Chernobyl tragedy. For another charity project Ruslana joined forces with German rock star Peter Maffay. In April/May 2007 they went together with artists from 14 countries on a four weeks tour through Germany. The funds gathered benefited children in need.

 

Ruslana has also staged numerous charity concerts benefiting Children’s hospitals in KievLviv and Dnipropetrovsk.

 

With her project Wild Energy Ruslana supports the use of renewable energy. She regards the energy of the sun, the water and the wind as an energy independence. The project gradually developed into this bigger meaning. Ruslana wants to make people aware of the dangers of global climate change.

 

After large regions in Western Ukraine were hit by a flood in July 2008 Ruslana set up the co-ordinating and relief centre Carpathians. Flood. SOS! 2008. The aim of the centre is to create a database of the people in need, to provide emergency humanitarian help and to collect and distribute donations both from the public and from other Ukrainian artists and sportsmen to support the victims of the flood.

 

 

Ruslana Lyzhychko
Ruslana in Kiev.JPG

Ruslana speaking during a press conference in
Kiev, Ukraine in May 2012
Background information
Native name Руслана Лижичко
Birth name Ruslana Stepanivna Lyzhychko

(Руслана Степанівна Лижичко)

Also known as Ruslana (Руслана)
Born 24 May 1973 (age 40)
LvivUkrainian SSR
Origin Ukraine Ukrainian
Genres Pop, ethno-pop
Occupations Singer, dancer, producer, composer,

conductor, pianist, lyricst, voice actress,

former politician, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador

, activist

Instruments Vocals, piano, guitar, drums, keyboards,

trembita, tambourine

Years active 1996–present
Labels EMIWarner Music Group
Associated acts T-PainMissy ElliottGoran Bregović,

Slavi Trifonov,Varvara, Harem,

Helmut Lotti,Peter Maffay, “Zhittya” Ballet

Website www.ruslana.ua

 

 

Ruslana Lyzhychko Facebook Page.

 

 

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