As prepared for delivery — Welcome to the 2012 Democratic National Convention! Our city is a hub of energy and commerce, a place where business and government work together and make things happen. And in this election, we are the city where Americans have come together to move our country forward and make great things possible. We have always been that kind of city.
Nearly half a century ago, when cities throughout the South struggled to desegregate schools, Charlotteans came together. Around kitchen tables, black and white families met and decided together to break down the barriers that had so long divided their children. And because they did, they gave a generation of kids a chance to go to school together, to learn together, and to recognize that no wall is too high or too strong to be broken down, if we do it together.
I was one of those children. I learned what it truly meant to be judged by the content of one's character. I was born to a single mom and raised by her and my grandparents. They taught me to take pride in hard work, to take responsibility for my actions, and to understand that education could expand my mind and transform my life. From West Charlotte High School to Davidson College, where I was the first black student body president; from NYU Law School to practicing law in the public and private sectors; from the Charlotte City Council to becoming Charlotte's first Democratic mayor in 22 years to this stage tonight, I live by the values my family and what this community taught me.
And you know what? I have seen President Obama at work, and these are his values, too. This is a man who pulled our economy back from the brink. This is a president who plans to give every child an opportunity to succeed. This is a leader who believes all Americans should have a fair shot to go as far their talents can take them.
So Charlotte, North Carolina, America, when this convention ends on Thursday, our work does not. Over the next 62 days—from this night until election night—we will come together, as we have so many times before. We will knock on doors and register voters. We will stand up for a leader who will move this country forward.
And together, we will re-elect President Barack Obama.
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(Photo: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)