Selected Speeches

Project Homeless Connect

Sept. 24, 2015
Baltimore Convention Center


Good morning, everyone. I first want to say that I’ve lived in Baltimore a long time—and I’ve never felt prouder to be a Baltimorean. This is what community looks like. This is what love looks like.

And I think I speak for the hundreds of volunteers and service providers here today from the University of Maryland, Baltimore when I say how grateful I am—and how humbled I am—to be a part of it.

Last spring, we saw the pain of our city laid bare. Many of you in this room know this pain—and live this pain—every day. But today is about hope. Today is about making homelessness rare and brief. Today is about ending acute poverty in Baltimore, and dismantling the barriers to opportunity that prevent people from getting off the street and out of the shelter.  

If we come together as a one community—as one Baltimore—we can do this. I promise you we can. Because this is a city whose most valuable resource is its people. All of the people in this room today.

And we are stronger than our weaknesses. We are braver than our fears. And when we take the time to see the problems of poverty and isolation from the perspective of those who feel them most deeply—when we give ourselves in this kind of service—we can do anything.

To the volunteers and the providers—you are the best of us … you are the best of our city. I thank you for dedicating your time, your energy, and your expertise to this effort. I thank you for knowing and practicing compassion in your everyday lives. I thank you for giving us a model of who and what we should be.

I’m so proud of Baltimore today. I’m so proud to be a Baltimorean. And I wish all of you a day that stays with you for a long, long time—one that’s rich in friendship, love, and service.

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