Leo DiCaprio, Kerry Washington, & More Celebs Recall Favorite ‘Yes We Can’ Moments of Obama Presidency
“You really felt those first three words of the constitution, ‘we the people,’” says Washington.
Leonardo DiCaprio, John Legend, Kerry Washington, Tom Hanks, Bill and Melinda Gates, and Ellen Degeneres are just a few of the celebrities who were inspired by President Barack Obama's optimistic, inclusive "Yes We Can" presidency.
The stars joined a variety of everyday citizens to create a retrospective of the Obama presidency in a new video from the White House,“Yes We Can: People Share Their Most Memorable Moments from the Obama Presidency," released just days before Obama leaves office.
The farewell video encapsulates the past eight years of the Obama presidency through a reflective scope of progress, reminding viewers of the positive attitude and progress that emerged from the moment the Obamas stepped into the White House.
The Affordable Care Act, same-sex marriage, the Paris Agreement, steps toward criminal justice reform, and a welcome stance toward immigrants are just some of the touching moments the video covers — issues that contrast sharply with the platform of incoming President-elect Donald Trump.
“President Obama put sexual violence on the map as an issue. Survivors can now speak about their experiences without shame,” says one young teen advocate, highlighting more issues.
Another girl recounts how receiving a letter from Obama in third grade inspired her to feel she can make a difference.
Celebrities were impacted just as much as the average American, as shown in the video.
"You really felt those first three words of the Constitution, 'We the people.' It was one of those first times in my life I felt that I was really part of that 'we,'" says Kerry Washington.
For Washington and millions of others, Obama offered a sense of belonging, while for others, his legislation offered inspiration. Both Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks spoke of being inspired by Obama's political victories.
“When I was at the U.N. and I heard our president say that climate change is the most important issue facing not only this generation, but all future generations, it was inspiring,” says DiCaprio.
“The moment we got the Affordable Care Act passed. I have relatives that can’t afford health insurance, so it was a really great thing to know that if something happened to them, they could get cared for,” recalls Samuel L. Jackson.
This Tuesday, Obama will give his own farewell speech, which is sure to be just as insightful and encouraging as this video. Until then, we can all reflect on our favorite ‘Yes We Can’ moment. Submit your own at WH.gov/farewell.