*Barack and Michelle Obama have officially started the construction of their long-awaited Presidential Library in Chicago, the Obama Presidential Center, CNN reports.
The library has been in the works since 2015 and has had several setbacks due to lawsuits and complaints from the locals-some of whom are against the use of public lands being used for a private project. The lawsuits were tossed out by a federal judge, which paved the way for the former president and first lady to begin the project in the Jackson Park area of Chicago.
Mr. and Mrs. Obama were on hand to break ground alongside Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker.
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During the ceremony, Barack Obama told the gathering the following regarding the current state of democracy in America.
“What we’ve seen is that in the breach, a culture of cynicism and mistrust can grow. We start seeing more division and increasingly bitter conflict. A politics that feeds anger and resentment towards those who aren’t like us and starts turning away from democratic principles in favor of tribalism,” he said.
“But the good news is we can reverse these trends. I don’t believe it’s inevitable that we succumb to paralysis or mutual hatred or abandon democracy in favor of systems that reserve power and privilege for the few as has been true throughout our history. I believe we have it in us to re-imagine our institutions. To make them responsive to today’s challenges and rebuild our societies in a way that gives more and more people a better life,” Obama added.
Mrs. Obama, born and raised in Chicago, also had a few words to say.
“No matter what I’ve accomplished or who I’ve met or where I’ve gone, one of my greatest honors is being a proud Chicagoan. A daughter of the South Side. I still lead with that descriptor. I wear it boldly and proudly like a crown,” she said.