Arcata Third Graders Introduce President Obama At White House
Kevin L. Hoover
WASHINGTON, D.C. – When two Arcata third graders wrote a letter to President Obama last December, little did they dream that they would be standing next to him in the White House six months later.
But last Thursday, Zea and Luna Weiss-Wynne, both 9, didn’t just meet the president, they introduced him at a reception for LGBT Pride Month – an annual celebration of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights.
The two are the daughters of married McKinleyville residents Nora Wynne and Lara Weiss.
The Dec. 21 letter asked Obama for three things: restrictions on gun purchases, more funding for schools and support for same-sex marriage.
The invitation to appear at the White House took the family by surprise.
“We had no idea,” said Wynne, who teaches in Humboldt State’s School of Education and is a Spanish teacher at McKinleyville Middle School. “Zea and Luna and I were simply writing to the President to ask for what we wanted in the second term. The kids wrote theirs, and I wrote mine. I got a form letter back. Never in my wildest imaginations did I consider an invitation to The White House a possible result, not to mention being invited to introduce President Obama.”
The following are the girl’s introductory remarks, followed by President Obama:
Zea: “Hello, my name is Zea Weiss-Wynne.”
Luna: “And I am her twin sister Luna. We are in third grade and last December we wrote a letter to President Obama. We told the President that we would like for him to make some changes this year. First, we asked the President to help make it harder for bad guys to get guns. We heard about the students who were killed and that made us really sad.”
Zea: “Second, we asked for more funding for schools. I really want more art and libraries because I love to read and Luna wants more P.E. because she thinks it’s healthy for kids and grown ups. Third, we asked the President for his support of gay marriage because we have two moms and they are just as good as other parents. They love us a lot.”
Zea and Luna: “Ladies and gentlemen, the President of the United States.”
President Obama: “All right. I will not beat that act. We could not be prouder of Zea and Luna for the introduction. And welcome, all of you, to the White House for Pride Month. Zea and Luna are here with their moms, and also I think with Grandma and Grandpa – correct? And so feel free to congratulate them afterwards for their outstanding introduction. There are a few other folks who don’t have the same star wattage that I want to acknowledge – first of all, my Vice President, Joe Biden.”
Obama went on to introduce other guests and encourage persistence in the fight for marriage equality.
“You take two steps forward and sometimes there’s a step back,” the president said. “But I deeply believe in something that Martin Luther King, Jr. said often, and that is that the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice. Eventually, America gets it right.”
“We all got a very solid lesson in civic engagement, that’s for sure,” Wynne said afterward. “They were thrilled and so were we.”
View the event at whitehouse.gov/blog/2013/06/14/making-america-little-more-equal.