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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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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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Equal Pay Day At Barack’s House. There Is NO Glass Ceiling At THIS White House.


 

By Jueseppi B.

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Taking Action in Honor of National Equal Pay Day

 

 

President Barack Obama signs executive actions to strengthen enforcement of equal pay laws for women, at an event marking Equal Pay Day, in the East Room of the White House, April 8, 2014.

President Barack Obama signs executive actions to strengthen enforcement of equal pay laws for women, at an event marking Equal Pay Day, in the East Room of the White House, April 8, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Today, President Obama signed a new Executive Order to prevent workplace discrimination and empower workers to take control over negotiations regarding their pay.

 

Just over two months after President Obama raised the minimum wage to $10.10 for federal contractors, he is again leading by example and taking action to protect American workers from retaliation if they broach the topic of unequal compensation. This is a problem facing a broad range of American workers, but women in particular are too often on the receiving end of subtle or overt penalties for even mentioning their pay.

 

In addition, the President is asking the Secretary of Labor to require federal contractors to submit data on employee compensation by race and gender — which will help employers take proactive efforts to ensure fair pay for all their employees.

 

President Obama is committed to ensuring equal opportunity and empowering women in the workforce. Shortly after taking office, he signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and established theNational Equal Pay Task Force. His commitment to women’s equality stems not only from his experiences as the son of a single mom, a husband, and the father of two daughters, but also as our nation’s leader, focused every day on strengthening our economy and maintaining our competitive edge in the world.

 

Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act Signing

President Barack Obama signs into law the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act in the East Room of the White House. January 29, 2009. (Official White House Photo by Joyce Boghosian)

As the President said in his most recent State of the Union address, “when women succeed, America succeeds.” We truly can’t afford to have women held back or prevent them from reaching their full potential if we hope to maximize the strength and productivity of our workforce.

 

Fifty years ago, President Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act into law to combat gender-based wage discrimination, and in the decades since, women have made extraordinary progress. But there is still a great amount of work that needs to be done. Women still make just 77 cents on average for every dollar a man earns, and continue to face prejudice in the workplace. And that number hasn’t improved — the pay gap has stayed constant since 2002.

 

Women now make up roughly half of America’s workforce and graduate at a higher rate than men from college and graduate schools — but even professional women make less than men in the same occupation with equivalent degrees. And the wage gapgets worse as they get older: Until they turn 35, women earn roughly 90 percent of what men make; after that, women typically earn about 75 to 80 percent of what men make.

 

This June, the President will host the first-ever White House Summit on Working Families to discuss issues ranging from fair pay and the minimum wage to childcare and flexible workplace policies to ensure that parents can be productive workers while handling their responsibilities at home.

 

The summit will convene a diverse group of business leaders, advocates, parents, and stakeholders from across the country to share best practices, identify strategies that work, and take those ideas to scale.

 

The summit and Executive Order will build on President Obama’s ongoing commitment to strengthen the middle class, maximize opportunity for all, and put every hardworking American in a position to succeed.

 

 

Presidential Actions

 

Executive Order — Non-Retaliation for Disclosure of Compensation Information

 

 

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President Obama Speaks on Equal Pay for Equal Work

 

Published on Apr 8, 2014

Following an introduction by Lilly Ledbetter, President Obama announces two new executive actions to strengthen enforcement of equal pay laws for women.

 

 

President Barack Obama is introduced to speak by Lilly Ledbetter at an event aimed at increasing transparency about women’s pay during an event at the White House. The first law President Obama signed after taking office in 2009 was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which extended time periods for employees to file claims for wages lost as a result of discrimination.

President Barack Obama is introduced to speak by Lilly Ledbetter at an event aimed at increasing transparency about women’s pay during an event at the White House. The first law President Obama signed after taking office in 2009 was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which extended time periods for employees to file claims for wages lost as a result of discrimination.

 

 

 

 

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Remarks by the President on Equal Pay for Equal Work

 

 

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East Room

11:58 A.M. EDT

 

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THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you, everybody.  (Applause.)  All right.  Well, thanks to my friend, Lilly Ledbetter, not only for that introduction but for fighting for a simple principle:  Equal pay for equal work.  It’s not that complicated.  And, Lilly, I assure you, you remain the face of fair pay.  (Laughter.)  People don’t want my mug on there.  (Laughter.)  They want your face.

 

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As Lilly mentioned, she did not set out to be a trailblazer. She was just somebody who was waking up every day, going to work, doing her job the best that she could.  And then one day, she finds out, after years, that she earned less than her male colleagues for doing the same job.  I want to make that point again.  (Laughter.)  Doing the same job.  Sometimes when you — when we discuss this issue of fair pay, equal pay for equal work, and the pay gap between men and women, you’ll hear all sorts of excuses about, well, they’re child-bearing, and they’re choosing to do this, and they’re this and they’re that and the other.  She was doing the same job — probably doing better.  (Laughter and applause.)  Same job.  Working just as hard, probably putting in more hours.  But she was getting systematically paid less.

 

And so she set out to make sure this country lived up to its founding, the idea that all of us are created equal.  And when the courts didn’t answer her call, Congress did.

 

The first time Lilly and I stood together in this room was my tenth day in office, and that’s when we signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.  (Applause.)  First bill I signed into law.  And some of the leaders who helped make that happen are here today, including Leader Pelosi and Senator Mikulski and Congresswoman DeLauro.  (Applause.)  I want to thank all the members of Congress and all the state legislators who are here  and all the advocates who are here, because you all contributed to that effort.  And I want to give a special thanks to the members of the National Equal Pay Task Force, who’ve done outstanding work to make workplaces across America more fair.

 

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We’re here because today is Equal Pay Day.  (Applause.)  Equal Pay Day.  And it’s nice to have a day, but it’s even better to have equal pay.  (Applause.)  And our job is not finished yet. Equal Pay Day means that a woman has to work about this far into 2014 to earn what a man earned in 2013.  Think about that.  A woman has got to work about three more months in order to get what a man got because she’s paid less.  That’s not fair.  That’s like adding an extra six miles to a marathon.  (Laughter.)  It’s not right.

 

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  Ain’t right.

 

THE PRESIDENT:  Ain’t right.  (Laughter.)  It’s not right and it ain’t right.  (Laughter.)

 

America should be a level playing field, a fair race for everybody — a place where anybody who’s willing to work hard has a chance to get ahead.  And restoring that opportunity for every American — men and women — has to be a driving focus for our country.

 

Now, the good news is today our economy is growing; businesses have created almost 9 million new jobs over the past four years.   More than 7 million Americans have signed up for health care coverage under the Affordable Care Act. (Applause.)

 

That’s a good thing, too.  I know it’s Equal Pay Day and not Obamacare Day — (laughter) — but I do want to point out that the Affordable Care Act guarantees free preventive care, like mammograms and contraceptive care, for tens of millions of women, and ends the days when you could be charged more just for being a woman when it comes to your health insurance.  (Applause.)  And that’s true for everybody.  (Applause.)  That’s just one more place where things were not fair.

 

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We’ll talk about drycleaners next, right — (laughter) — because I know that — I don’t know why it costs more for Michelle’s blouse than my shirt.  (Laughter.)

 

But we’ve got to make sure that America works for everybody. Anybody who is willing to work hard, they should be able to get ahead.  And we’ve got to build an economy that works for everybody, not just those at the top.  Restoring opportunity for all has to be our priority.  That’s what America is about.  It doesn’t matter where you started off, what you look like — you work hard, you take responsibility, you make the effort, you should be able to get ahead.

 

And we’ve got to fight for an opportunity agenda, which means more good jobs that pay good wages, and training Americans to make sure that they can fill those jobs, and guaranteeing every child a world-class education, and making sure the economy rewards hard work for every single American.

 

And part of that is fighting for fair pay for women — because when women succeed, America succeeds.  (Applause.)  When women succeed, America succeeds.  It’s true.  I believe that.  (Applause.)  It’s true.  It’s true.  It’s true.

 

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Now, here’s the challenge:  Today, the average full-time working woman earns just 77 cents for every dollar a man earns; for African American women, Latinas, it’s even less.  And in 2014, that’s an embarrassment.  It is wrong.  And this is not just an issue of fairness.  It’s also a family issue and an economic issue, because women make up about half of our workforce and they’re increasingly the breadwinners for a whole lot of families out there.  So when they make less money, it means less money for gas, less money for groceries, less money for child care, less money for college tuition, less money is going into retirement savings.

 

And it’s all bad for business, because our economy depends on customers out there, and when customers have less money, when hardworking women don’t have the resources, that’s a problem.  When businesses lose terrific women talent because they’re fed up with unfair policies, that’s bad for business.  They lose out on the contributions that those women could be making.  When any of our citizens can’t fulfill their potential for reasons that have nothing to do with their talent or their character or their work ethic, we’re not living up to our founding values.  We don’t have second-class citizens in this country — and certainly not in the workplace.

 

So, tomorrow, the Senate has the chance to start making this right by passing a bill that Lilly already alluded to — the Paycheck Fairness Act.  (Applause.)  They’ve got a chance to do the right thing.  And it would put sensible rules into place, like making sure employees who discuss their salaries don’t face retaliation by their employers.

 

And here’s why this is important.  There are women here today who worked in offices where it was against the rules for employees to discuss salaries with one another.  And because of that, they didn’t know they were being paid less than men — just like Lilly didn’t know — for doing the exact same work.  For some, it was years before they found out.  And even then, it only happened because a manager accidentally let it slip or, as in Lilly’s case, a sympathetic co-worker quietly passed a note.  She only found out she earned less than her male colleagues for doing the same work because somebody left an anonymous note.

 

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We can’t leave that to chance.  And over the course of Lilly’s career, she lost more than $200,000 in salary, even more in pension and Social Security benefits — both of which are pegged to salary — simply because she was a woman.

 

And Lilly, and some of the other women here, decided it was wrong, set out to fix it.  They went to their bosses; they asked for a raise.  That didn’t work.  They turned to the law; they filed suit.  And for some, for years after waiting and persisting they finally got some justice.

 
Well, tomorrow, the Senate could pay tribute to their courage by voting yes for paycheck fairness.  (Applause.)  This should not be a hard proposition.  This should not be that complicated.  (Applause.)

 
And so far, Republicans in Congress have been gumming up the works.  They’ve been blocking progress on this issue, and of course other issues that would help with the economic recovery and help us grow faster.  But we don’t have to accept that.  America, you don’t have to sit still.  You can make sure that you’re putting some pressure on members of Congress about this issue.  And I don’t care whether you’re a Democrat or a Republican.  If you’re a voter — if you’ve got a daughter, you got a sister, you got a mom — I know you got a mom — (laughter) — this is something you should care about.

 

 

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And I’m not going to stand still either.  So in this year of action I’ve used my executive authority whenever I could to create opportunity for more Americans.  And today, I’m going to take action — executive action — to make it easier for working women to earn fair pay.  So first, I’m going to sign an executive order to create more pay transparency by prohibiting federal contractors from retaliating against employees who discuss their pay with each other.  (Applause.)  Pay secrecy fosters discrimination and we should not tolerate it — not in federal contracting or anywhere else.

 

Second, I’m signing a presidential memorandum directing the Department of Labor and our outstanding Secretary of Labor, Tom Perez, to require federal contractors to provide data about their employee compensation so pay discrimination can be spotted more easily.

 

Now, I want to be clear:  There are great employers out there who do the right thing.  There are plenty of employers out there who are absolutely certain that there’s no pay discrimination happening in their offices.  But then sometimes when the data is laid out, it paints a different picture.  Many times they then do everything they can to fix the problem, and so we want to encourage them to fix these problems if they exist by making sure that the data is out there.

 

So everybody who cares about this should pay attention to how the Senate votes tomorrow on this paycheck fairness act, because the majority of senators support this bill, but two years ago, a minority of Senate Republicans blocked it from getting a vote.  Even worse, some commentators are out there saying that the pay gap doesn’t even exist.  They say it’s a myth.  But it’s not a myth; it’s math.  (Laughter and applause.)  You can look at the paychecks.  You can look at the stubs.  (Applause.)

 

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I mean, Lilly Ledbetter didn’t just make this up.  (Laughter.)  The court, when it looked at the documents, said, yep, you’ve been getting paid less for doing the same job.  It’s just the court then said, you know, it’s been — as Lilly said — it’s been happening so long, you can’t do anything about it anymore — which made no sense and that’s why we had to sign another bill.  It’s basic math that adds up to real money.  It makes a real difference for a lot of Americans who are working hard to support their families.

 

And of course, the fact that we’ve got some resistance from some folks on this issue up on Capitol Hill just fits with this larger problem, this vision that the congressional Republicans seem to be continually embracing — this notion that, you know what, you’re just on your own, no matter how unfair things are.  You see it in their budget.  The budget the Republicans in Congress just put forward last week, it’s like a bad rerun.  It would give massive tax cuts to households making more than a million dollars a year, force deep cuts to things that actually help working families like early education and college grants and job training.

 

And, of course, it includes that novel idea of repealing the Affordable Care Act.  (Laughter.)  Fiftieth time they’ve tried that — which would mean the more than 7 million Americans who’ve done the responsible thing and signed up to buy health insurance, they’d lose their health insurance; and the 3 million young adults who’ve stayed on their parents’ plan, they’d no longer have that available; take us back to the days when insurers could charge women more just for being a woman.

 

On minimum wage, three out of four Americans support raising the minimum wage.  Usually when three out of four Americans support something, members of Congress are right there.  (Laughter.)  And yet here, Republicans in Congress are dead set against it, blocking a pay raise for tens of millions of Americans — a majority of them women.  This isn’t just about treating women fairly.  This is about Republicans seemingly opposing any efforts to even the playing field for working families.

 

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And I was up in Michigan last week and I just asked — I don’t understand fully the theory behind this.  I don’t know why you would resist the idea that women should be paid the same as men, and then deny that that’s not always happening out there.  If Republicans in Congress want to prove me wrong, if they want to show that they, in fact, do care about women being paid the same as men, then show me.  They can start tomorrow.  They can join us in this, the 21st century, and vote yes on the Paycheck Fairness Act.  (Applause.)  Vote yes.

 

And if anybody is watching or listening, if you care about this issue, then let your senators know where you stand — because America deserves equal pay for equal work.

 

This is not something we’re going to achieve in a day.  There’s going to be a lot of stuff that we’ve got to do to close the pay gap.  We got to make it possible for more women to enter high-paying fields that up until now have been dominated by men, like engineering and computer science.  Women hold less than 6 percent of our country’s commercial patents — that’s not good enough.  We need more parents and high school teachers and college professors encouraging girls and women to study math and science.  We need more businesses to make gender diversity a priority when they hire and when they promote.  Fewer than five percent of Fortune 500 companies have women at the helm.

 

I think we’d all agree that we need more women in Congress. (Applause.)  Fewer than 20 percent of congressional seats are held by women.  Clearly, Congress would get more done if the ratio was — (laughter) — evened out a little bit.  So we’ve got to work on that.

 

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And we’ve all got to do more to make our workplaces more welcoming to women.  Because the numbers show that even when men and women are in the same profession and have the same education, there’s still a wage gap, and it widens over time.  So we’re going to keep making the case for why these policies are the right ones for working families and businesses.  And this is all going to lead up to this first-ever White House Summit on Working Families on June 23rd.

 

So, ultimately, equal pay is not just an economic issue for millions of Americans and their families.  It’s also about whether we’re willing to build an economy that works for everybody, and whether we’re going to do our part to make sure that our daughters have the same chances to pursue their dreams as our sons, and whether or not we’re willing to restore to the heart of this country that basic idea — you can make it, no matter who you are, if you try.

 

And that’s personal for me.  I’ve said this before — I’ve got two daughters and I expect them to be treated just like anybody’s sons.  And I think about my single mom working hard, going to school, trying to raise two kids all at the same time.  And I think about my grandmother trying to work her way up through her career and then hitting the glass ceiling.  And I’ve seen how hard they’ve worked, and I’ve seen how they’ve sucked it up.  And they put up with stuff and they don’t say anything, and they just take care of their family and they take care of themselves, and they don’t complain a lot.  But at a certain point, we have the power to do something about it for the next generation.  And this is a good place to start.

 

So, for everybody out there who’s listening, ask your senator where you stand on paycheck fairness.  (Applause.)  If they tell you that there’s not a pay gap out there, you tell them to look at the data, because there is.  It’s time to get this done.  And I’m going to do my small part right now by signing this executive order and presidential memoranda.  (Applause.)

 

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FACT SHEET: Expanding Opportunity for All: Ensuring Equal Pay for Women and Promoting the Women’s Economic Agenda

When women succeed, our families succeed and America succeeds. President Obama believes that ensuring that women earn equal pay for equal work is essential to improving the economic security of our families and the growth of our middle class and our economy.  Women compose nearly half of the American workforce – yet, according to the latest U.S. Census statistics, on average, full-time working women still earn 77 cents to every dollar earned by men.

The first piece of legislation that the President signed into law after taking office was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which empowers women to recover wages lost to discrimination by extending the time period in which an employee can file a claim.  Yet a central challenge that remains to enforcing equal pay laws is that many women do not even know that they are underpaid, and therefore cannot take steps to ensure equal pay for equal work.

That’s why the President is taking two new executive actions to help combat pay discrimination and strengthen enforcement of equal pay laws:

  • The President is signing an Executive Order prohibiting federal contractors from retaliating against employees who choose to discuss their compensation.  The Executive Order does not compel workers to discuss pay, nor does it require employers to publish or otherwise disseminate pay data – but it does provide a critical tool to encourage pay transparency, so workers have a potential way of discovering violations of equal pay laws and are able to seek appropriate remedies.

 

  • In addition, the President is signing a Presidential Memoranduminstructing the Secretary of Labor to establish new regulations requiring federal contractors to submit to the Department of Labor summary data on compensation paid to their employees, including data by sex and race.  The Department of Labor will use the data to encourage compliance with equal pay laws and to target enforcement more effectively by focusing efforts where there are discrepancies and reducing burdens on other employers.

 

This week, the Senate is considering the Paycheck Fairness Act, which the President believes Congress must pass to ensure the standards put forward by the executive order he will sign are applied to all employers covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act.  The President is using the power of his pen to act where he can on this issue, and will continue to urge Congress to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act to ensure all employers are held to the same high standard working women deserve.

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Building on Progress

Since day one, President Obama has been laser-focused on ensuring women have the fundamental rights they deserve when it comes to earning a fair and equal wage.

For example, President Obama has fought for an increase in the national minimum wage, including signing an executive order that will raise the minimum wage to $10.10 for federal contract workers.  Raising the national minimum wage would give millions of hard working Americans a raise and would especially benefit women:

  • While women account for about half of the workforce, 55 percent of non-tipped workers benefiting from increasing the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour are women – and women are even more disproportionately represented in predominantly tipped occupations.

 

  • Women account for a higher concentration of workers in low-wage sectors of the labor force such as food preparation, sales and personal care workers.

 

  • Raising the minimum wage would increase the average wage among the bottom quartile of female workers by 93 cents (from $8.78), compared to 60 cents (from $9.65) for the bottom quartile of male workers.

 

Women are the primary breadwinners in 40 percent of U.S. households but are bringing home 23 percent less than their male counterparts – which means less for families’ everyday needs, less for investments in our children’s futures, and, when added over a lifetime of work, substantially less for retirement.   And the pay gap is significantly greater for women of color, with African-American women earning 64 cents and Latinas earning 56 cents for every dollar earned by a Caucasian man. That is why the Obama Administration is:

  • Combating pay discrimination.  The President made the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act the first bill he signed into law, which extended the time period in which claimants can bring pay discrimination claims and enabled countless victims of pay discrimination to seek redress where they otherwise could not.

 

  • Created a National Equal Pay Task Force.  In 2010, the President created the National Equal Pay Task Force to crack down on violations of equal pay laws.  Under this Administration, the government has strengthened enforcement, recovered substantial monetary recoveries, and made critical investments in education and outreach for both employers and employees.

 

  • Promoting the Paycheck Fairness Act.  The President continues to call on Congress to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act, commonsense legislation that would give women additional tools to fight pay discrimination.

 

  • Encouraging State Paid Leave Initiatives. In addition, the President’s Budget provides support for States that are considering establishing paid leave programs, as California, New Jersey and Rhode Island have done.

 

  • Leveraging Technology to Close the Pay Gap.  DOL, in conjunction with the Equal Pay Task Force, launched the “Equal Pay App Challenge” and invited software developers to create applications that provide greater access to pay data, deploy interactive tools for early career coaching or online mentoring, or disseminate data to help inform pay negotiations.  The winning teams created tools that (1) provide easy access to U.S. wage estimates by city, state and job title, empowering employees or applicants for employment with reliable and specific compensation information to support informed salary negotiations; and (2) supply users with current wage data and interview, resume and negotiation tools, as well as connect users to relevant social networks.

 

  • Expanding the EITC for Childless Workers. The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is a proven tool to increase and reward work among low-income families with children.  However, childless workers – including noncustodial parents – can receive only up to $500 and must be at least 25 years old, so the credit does little to encourage work, particularly during the crucial years at the beginning of a young person’s career. The President has proposed doubling the maximum credit to $1,000, raising the income eligibility standard so the credit is available to a full-time minimum wage worker, and lowering the age limit from 25 to 21. The proposed expansion would be fully paid for within his budget and would benefit 13.5 million workers, including 6.1 million women.

 

 

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Where In The World Is Barack™: Bladensburg High School, Maryland. Maria Contreras-Sweet Gets Sweared In.


 

By Jueseppi B.

US President Barack Obama holds his first Twitter Town Hall

 

Rethinking High School: President Obama Announces New Youth CareerConnect Grants

 

 

“How do we start making high school … more interesting, more exciting, more relevant to young people?”

 

That’s the idea behind the Youth CareerConnect grant program, which President Obama discussed this morning during his visit to Bladensburg High School in Prince George’s County, Maryland. In his remarks, the President announced that Bladensburg High was part of a three-school team in Prince George’s County that won a $7 million Youth CareerConnect grant.

 

 

The grant will give students at Bladensburg High access to individualized college and career counseling, as well as paid work experiences with employer partners such as Lockheed Martin. What’s more, students concentrating in health professions will be able to earn industry-recognized certifications in nursing and pharmacy, and biomedical students will be able to earn college credit from the Rochester Institute of Technology and the University of Maryland Baltimore County.

 

 

President Barack Obama meets with students working in a biomedical sciences classroom at Bladensburg High School in Bladensburg, Maryland, April 7, 2014.President Barack Obama meets with students working in a biomedical sciences classroom at Bladensburg High School in Bladensburg, Maryland, April 7, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

 

All told, the grant will help prepare 2,500 students at Bladensburg High and other Prince George’s County schools to succeed academically and graduate career-ready in the high-demand fields of information technology and health care.

 

Youth CareerConnect is a national competition, backed by the Departments of Education and Labor, to start redesigning America’s high schools for the 21st century economy. The program is offering $107 million in new grants — ranging from $2.2 million to $7 million — to local partnerships of local education agencies, workforce investment boards, institutions of higher education, and employer partners.

 

We challenged America’s high schools to … say what can you do to make sure your students learn the skills that businesses are looking for in high-demand fields. And we asked high schools to develop partnerships with colleges and employers, and create classes that focus on real-life applications for the fields of the future — fields like science and technology and engineering and math.

 

 

President Barack Obama shakes hands with the students on stage following remarks and announcing the winners of the Youth CareerConnect Competition, at Bladensburg High School in Bladensburg, Maryland, April 7, 2014.President Barack Obama shakes hands with the students on stage following remarks and announcing the winners of the Youth CareerConnect Competition, at Bladensburg High School in Bladensburg, Maryland, April 7, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

 

As President Obama explained, these grants will help ensure that more of America’s youth receive a world-class education, which will prepare them “with the skills they need for college, for a career, and for a lifetime of citizenship.”

 

“From preschool for every 4-year-old in America, to higher education for everybody who wants to go, every young person deserves a fair shot,” said the President. “And I’m going to keep on doing everything I can to make sure you get that shot and to keep America a place where you can make it if you try.”

 

To learn more about the Youth CareerConnect program, click here.

 

 

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Remarks by the President on Opportunity for All — Bladensburg High School

 

 

President Obama Speaks on Education and High School Redesign

 

Published on Apr 7, 2014

At Bladensburg High School in Bladensburg, Maryland, President Obama announce the winners of a competition he launched last fall to bring together educators and employers to redesign the high school experience to give students access to real-world career skills and college-level courses. April 7, 2014.

 

 

FACT SHEET: Youth CareerConnect

 

 

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President Obama looks over a student’s work as he visits a classroom at Bladensburg High School, Md., April 7

President Obama looks over a student’s work as he visits a classroom at Bladensburg High School, Md., April 7

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All smiles at Bladensburg High School

All smiles at Bladensburg High School

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Remarks by the President, Vice President, and SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet at Swearing-In Ceremony

 

The President and Vice President Speak at the Swearing-In of Maria Contreras-Sweet

 

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Published on Apr 7, 2014

President Obama says he nominated Maria Contreras-Sweet as Administrator of the Small Business Administration because “she knows first-hand the challenges that small businesses go through — and she has a proven track record of helping them succeed.”

 

 

 

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FACT SHEET: Strengthening Entrepreneurship At Home and Abroad

 

 

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4/7/14: White House Press Briefing

 

Published on Apr 7, 2014

White House Press Briefings are conducted most weekdays from the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room in the West Wing.

 

 

 

 

“The New Yorker” April 14, 2014 Magazine Cover

“The New Yorker” April 14, 2014 Magazine Cover

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Someone You Should Know: Ruslana Lyzhychko, Ukrainian Activist.


 

By Jueseppi B.

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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.

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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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