Just a stone’s throw away from the birthplace of freedom, Senator Hillary Clinton delivered the keynote address for the American Democracy Institute in the National Constitution Center.
Philadelphia was chosen as the site for the 2006 Eastern Regional Summit on February 6, one of many meetings around the country to help educate youth about the government.
Clinton, who serves as the Honorary Chair of ADI’s National Youth Initiative, was welcomed by a rousing ovation from the City of Brotherly Love.
“We have an extraordinary opportunity in 2006 to reinvigorate our democracy and this starts with your generation,” Clinton said, referring to the many youth in the fairly large audience.
A non-partisan group, the ADI is an organization bent on educating and informing people on ways to help improve American democracy through volunteering and increased participation by all citizens.
Clinton called upon police officers, school teachers, firemen and any others who were part of an organization that helped to make things better to stand and be recognized. She then broadened the group by asking those who voted in the last election to join those already on their feet.
“This is the best answer to anyone who thinks that this generation is an out of touch, iPod loving, apathetic group,” Clinton said. “Those people need to see what is going on with your generation.”
Clinton said that the future is in the hands of America’s youngest generation. She spoke about her own experience seeing Martin Luther King, Jr. speak in Chicago as a junior in high school.
“I was a young Republican, and the world was changing and so was I,” Clinton said. “It wasn’t easy for Dr. King to take a stand for equality in voting, but his legacy is a challenge to us.”
Her speech went on to praise America’s youth as being part of the “greatest volunteering generation,” referring to the countless amounts of students across the nation who give their own time and energy for just causes.
“We have a generation willing to go to work, whether it is through tutoring a child, cleaning the environment, helping the homeless and providing HIV and AIDS relief,” she said.
However, Clinton believes there is still much work to be done.
“We have a long way to go at home because it is not okay for a child to go to bed hungry in America,” Clinton said. “It is not okay for 13 million people to be without heath insurance and it is not okay for college tuition prices to keep escalating so that nobody can afford them.”
Clinton urged young people to get involved and not to settle for things that are detrimental to society and humanity.
“Next time Exxon-Mobil tells you that they have a surplus of 13 billion dollars, ask them when they are going to be part of the solution and not part of the problem,” she said.