President Obama lauded Medal of Freedom honorees today at the White House ranging from Bob Dylan to Madeleine Albright.
He pointed out Dolores Huerta co-founding what would become United Farm Workers with Cesar Chavez, noting that she “was a single mother of seven children, so she obviously didn’t have a lot of free time.”
Obama said Huerta has urged people to get involved and demand their rights: “You can’t wait to be invited” to have a seat at the table, he said, but you have to “step in” and demand it.
“She was very polite when I told her I had stolen her slogan, ‘Si se puede’ — ‘Yes, we can,’” Obama said.
Of Dylan, who wore his sunglasses throughout the ceremony, Obama said he’s a “really big fan.” In college, the president said in his remarks, he listened to Dylan and “my whole world opened up.”
Before the event began, according to the White House pool report, a pianist from the Marine Corps band played Dylan’s “Don’t Think Twice — It’s Alright” as guests mingled in the reception hall and filed into the East Room.
“It’s our job to help let them know how extraordinary their impact has been on our lives,” Obama said of the medal recipients.