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Weekly Wrap Up: “Forward the Example”

Weekly Wrap Up: Economic Mobility, The passing of Nelson Mandela, White House Youth Summit, Holidays at the White House and World AIDS Day.

Economic Mobility: On Wednesday, the President spoke about the growing inequality and lack of upward mobility in the United States. “The idea that so many children are born into poverty in the wealthiest nation on Earth is heartbreaking enough,” the President said.

But the idea that a child may never be able to escape that poverty because she lacks a decent education or health care, or a community that views her future as their own, that should offend all of us and it should compel us to action. We are a better country than this.  

The President called reversing this lack of upward mobility the defining challenge of our time and said he is driven to expanding opportunity to ensure that if you work hard, you have a chance to get ahead. Click here to read his full remarks.

The passing of Nelson Mandela: Thursday evening President Obama delivered a statement on the passing of former South African President and anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela. “We will not likely see the likes of Nelson Mandela again,” the President said. “So it falls to us as best we can to forward the example that he set: to make decisions guided not by hate, but by love; to never discount the difference that one person can make; to strive for a future that is worthy of his sacrifice.”

White House Youth Summit: The White House held a Youth Summit on Wednesday, where youth leaders from across the country gathered to discuss issues important to their generation, including the Affordable Care Act. They participated in panels and breakout workshops with administration officials, and even had a surprise drop by from the President.

I look around the room and I see a lot of leaders who are going to be leading the charge well into the future on a whole range of issues. Don’t get discouraged. Be persistent.  You may get a few gray hairs as a consequence -- but I think at the end of the day you’ll think it’s worth it.

Holidays at the White House: Over the weekend, the Official White House Christmas tree was delivered to the White House by a horse-drawn carriage. The 18 ½-foot high and nearly 11-foot-wide Douglas Fir tree is decorated in honor of military families and displayed in the Blue Room. Another National Christmas tree will be lit tonight at the 91st annual holiday tree lighting ceremony, which features a talented line-up of performers.

On Wednesday, First Lady Michelle Obama welcomed military families to the White House to preview this year’s holiday decor, centered on the theme ‘Gather Around: Stories of the Season.’

The President and First Lady joined a long line of past presidents in celebrating Hanukkah on Thursday. The two Hanukkah receptions included a candle lighting ceremony and a kosher meal.

You can check out more holiday happenings at the White House and find some holiday crafts here.

World AIDS Day: The White House hung a red ribbon from the North Portico on Monday to mark World AIDS Day. The President spoke in South Court auditorium on the importance of remaining a global leader in the fight against AIDS. Read his remarks here.