Not only did Michelle Obama enter the Oval Office with two Ivy League degrees, but as the most educated First Lady in American history, she has left an impeccable legacy setting a new standard for future presidential spouses. Obama has carried this title with the grace and elegance reserved for high-royalty, while remaining grounded and humble, a true heroine to everyday people.
Michelle Obama has delivered some of the most powerful and personally touching speeches the Democratic Party has ever heard – often becoming the highlight of any event. Always taking genuine positions has made her voice one of the most recognized and sought after opinions amongst leaders in the United States government at any level. She consistently champions the voice of the oppressed and provided hope for many.
The First Lady has spoken up for racial and gender inequality issues, as well as looking out for the best interest of the impoverished and the youth. She has proudly proclaimed, “Black Girls Rock,” as well as, declaring that we must make it possible for families to economically survive, while still being able to live whole healthy lives.
Obama has stood up for single mothers who have faced the pressure of choosing between rent, and being able to personally raise their children. She has stood with those who have been incarcerated and have no opportunity to rehabilitate and integrate themselves back in to society, because of an outdated and discriminatory legal system.
Michelle Obama has boldly declared that women in no way should be limited in their career choices and deserve equal pay for their equal work. She has stood up for voiceless Nigerian girls that were heinously kidnapped by terrorist by being one of the first major voices to bring attention to the atrocity by simply holding a sign that read #bringbackourgirls.
Obama was never afraid to remind us of our country’s unfortunate past, when she reminded what would have been the fate of her and her daughter’s just decades ago when she visited the Memorial of the March on Selma. Even noting the progress we’ve made contemplating out loud “that she wakes up every morning in a house built by slaves,” but now gets the pleasure of seeing her daughters play in that same yard.
The road that led Michelle Obama towards her destiny was by no way paved with gold. The First Lady was the product of two hard working parents that instilled dignity and pride in her, but lacked the economic power, or the academic experience to properly prepare her for where she was headed. As she famously put it, “the descendant of slaves,” and the child of two parents who did not have any experience in higher education; Obama’s parents did not have degrees, and neither did hardly anyone in her neighborhood.
She was not raised in a plush elite neighborhood, but rather in Southside of Chicago’s tough streets. Despite these seemingly overwhelmingly difficult circumstances, Michelle Obama fought her way to Princeton, where she studied sociology and African-American Studies and graduated cum laude. She struggled at times to merge the worlds of her youthful experience in Southside Chicago, and her time spent at an elite Princeton institution because one situation seemed to undermine the lessons from the other. By the time she had arrived at the Harvard School of Law, she had come to understand that there was nothing stopping her from being both “brilliant and Black.”
Along with always speaking up on behalf of righteousness, Obama has done the thankless work of maintaining initiatives through all eight years that benefit those who have needed it the most. Obama strongly advocated for homeless veterans and at one point received the “Jerald Washington Memorial Founders Award,” the highest honor one can receive in regards to helping homeless vets. One of the strongest themes throughout her tenure was an emphasis on physical fitness for those of all ages, but especially in the case of the children. She focused on ending childhood obesity through an initiative called Let’s Move, which focused on getting children to exercise while teaching them healthy eating habits that would have positive effects for a lifetime.
Obama authored a book titled “American Grown: The Story of the White House Kitchen Garden and Gardens Across America,” which chronicles her experiences in the garden and journey towards sustaining healthier eating habits. She also championed the Let Girls Learn initiative, which incentivized the international community to prioritize the capability of every girl to receive the education they deserve. Obama also supported several domestic initiatives to get higher numbers of girls involved in STEM related fields, where women are clearly underrepresented.
All of this was handled simultaneously with her raising two of the most beautiful and accomplished children in the history of the oval office. When President Obama took the office she said then, just as she told Oprah Winfrey five years later that her number one concern was raising wholly healthy children. She accomplished just that, as this First Family has been undoubtedly the most regal and scandal free family to ever represent the country. Obama managed to accomplish all of this, while still being constantly abused and harassed to a level that was unprecedented for any First Lady before her, and which will hopefully not be experienced by any to come.
Obama has stated that she has no intentions of running for president or staying involved in the political arena, but would like to continue to advocate for the issues she has always cared about strongly. This October Obama continued to take on the issue of girls having the ability to access education which she has stated is a topic she takes very personally by taking part in a documentary style-film entitled We Will Rise. This film takes a look at girls in both Morocco and Liberia who have a difficult time simply trying to receive any type of education. Obama believes this issue is a quintessential problem for far too many girls, both domestically and internationally, and has fought for this issue to be resolved during every moment of her White House stay.
Recently, Obama was a major component in an historic conference, The United State of Women, which looked to organize and tackle many women’s issues such as stopping gender based violence, empowering women, creating healthy families and other topics that would improve the quality of life for women everywhere. There was also her famous conversation with Oprah where she divulged how to become a successful woman, noting that the most important thing she ever did was “knowing who she was” and standing on those principles no matter what.
While everything from racist attacks, such as being compared to an ape in heels and being depicted as King Kong knocking planes off of towers, to people questioning how much her arms show and disdaining her facial expressions: Michelle Obama remained graceful, calm, collected, intelligent and professional – everything you would want in a First Lady.