First Lady Michelle Obama delivered remarks to the National Council of La Raza on Thursday. A transcript follows:
SPEAKER: FIRST LADY MICHELLE OBAMA
[*] OBAMA: Buenos dias! Oh, my goodness. You all rest yourselves. You've been busy. I understand you are having a phenomenal conference. And it is such a pleasure to be here with all of you today for this 2013 Annual Conference. Of course, I want to start by thanking Janet not just for that very kind introduction, but I want to thank her, as well as Jorge Plasencia, for their leadership, for this outstanding organization. I also very much want to thank all of you who are part of this great American organization.
As you know, for more than four decades, NCLR has served as a powerful voice on the most important issues of our time -- from voting rights to health care, from education to immigration. Because of all of you, your steadfast work, we have seen such great progress for the Latino community and for our country.
And please know that whether it's implementing health reform or passing common-sense immigration reform, your President and his administration are going to keep working with you and fighting with you every step of the way.
Know that. And I know these debates are hard -- particularly on immigration. But do not give up, because I promise you that my husband won't give up until a good bill gets on his desk.
That's because in the end, these issues are all about one simple thing: They're about achieving the American Dream. They're about building a country where no matter who you are, or where you're from, or what you look like, or who you love, you can build a decent life for yourself and an even better life for your kids.
But, of course, as you all know, keeping that dream alive isn't just about changing our laws out in Washington. It's also about changing people's lives on the ground. It's about the grassroots, community-based work that so many of you have been doing for so long. And that's especially true of the issue that I want to discuss with you today -- as Janet mentioned, an issue that affects the lives of children and families across this country -- and that is the epidemic of childhood obesity in America today.
Now, we often talk about this issue as a policy issue, which it is, since our laws certainly affect our children's health. And we often say that it is a public health issue, which is true, since we now spend $190 billion a year treating obesity-related illnesses like diabetes, cancer and heart disease. But more than anything else, how we raise and nourish our children is very much a family issue. It's very much a community issue.
And see, that's where it gets complicated, because that's where it gets personal and emotional. Because the truth is, for so many of us, food is love.
I mean, it is no coincidence. Applause for food is love.
It is no coincidence that the kitchen is the central gathering place in so many of our homes. And it's no surprise that food is at the heart of so many of our family occasions. Because whether we're celebrating the good times or comforting each other in the bad times, food is how we knit our families together. It's how we pass on our culture and our heritage as meals become family traditions and
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