Former Pres. Obama speaks at a conference in San Diego

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SAN DIEGO — Former United States President Barack Obama took the stage Sunday at The Attitude Conference at the Manchester Grand Hyatt in downtown San Diego. The four-day event wrapped up Sunday with various speakers including Obama.

The 44th President of the United States addressed hundreds of people who filled the room, as well as an overflow room where attendees watched the President broadcast on a screen.

News cameras and those in the audience were asked not to film while the president was on stage.

Obama’s topics ranged from the economy, immigration and his hope for the future.

Acosta first asked Obama how he and his family were doing, then focused on the economy and asked Obama, “How do we close the Latin American wealth gap in the United States?”

Gary Acosta, co-founder of L’Attitude, moderated the hour-long conversation and said that Latinos in the United States contributed $2.8 trillion to the GDP and that if Latinos were a self-governing country, Latinos would be the fifth largest economy in the world.

Obama said America’s success depends on the performance of the Latino community and minority groups. He said there are things the government can do to make sure discrimination is addressed.

“My hope would be that all of us, regardless of political party, would say that (discrimination) is not good for America and it’s not good for the country,” Obama said.

Obama said it’s often more difficult for entrepreneurs of color to access the “pipeline” that allows them to turn their ideas into viable businesses. He urged companies to ensure they help ensure everyone has a seat at the table.

He said there’s been a move to include more diverse viewpoints, but that’s sometimes seen as a fair philanthropic effort during “Hispanic heritage or Black history months,” and he encourages movement in companies to take place all year round.

Obama said during his time in the White House that he learned, “If you want to make good decisions, you have to have as many points of view as possible, because we all have blind spots.

Obama referred to the situation at the border, calling it “messy” and hopes that an effective border policy can be put in place. He also discussed his future prospects and said he was more optimistic about the future because of the “young people”, who he said have a general understanding of “common humanity”.

After the discussion, those present said they felt inspired by what Obama had to say.

“It was great to see Obama and he’s always a great person to listen to,” said Los Angeles attendee Roy Cabrera. “I saw Clinton, Bush, now Obama, I was very excited to see him.”

The Attitude Conference was founded in 2018 by international business leader Sol Trujillo and NAHREP
Co-Founder and CEO Gary Acosta and brings together American Latinos to network and gather ideas while listening to speakers.

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