An Icon for the Ages: Michelle Obama

This past week has been filled with firsts. We celebrated the first day of hope after four years of terror, the first youth poet laureate delivered an amazing inaugural performance, but most importantly, the first African-American, Asian-American, and WOMXN to hold the office of Vice President. As we celebrate this achievement as a community of womxn of color, we must also remember the firsts who paved the way. Today, the National Womxn of Color Collective celebrates the first African-American First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama.

Michelle Obama has become a symbol of class, elegance, power, and hope for many womxn and young girls across the country. A Chicago native who earned a bachelor’s degree from Princeton University and her JD from Harvard Law School, First Lady Obama epitomizes the idea that “the only limit to the height of your achievements is the reach of your dreams and your willingness to work hard for them.”1

Being First Lady is never an easy feat, but that becomes even more complicated when that title comes with the added challenge of being the first African-American First Lady to the first African-American President Barack Obama.  This was an achievement we all heralded that was too long in the making, but it also came with the burden of all eyes always being on you and scrutinizing your every move.  Despite that, the Obamas were one of the few presidential families without a single scandal while in office.  They were, and still are, a family everyone can relate to and be proud of.

Even more, Michelle Obama left a legacy that will continue empowering youths, womxn, and minorities for eons. While in office, Michelle Obama had numerous initiatives dedicated to supporting and inspiring those around her. The two that resonate with the National Womxn of Color Collective the most are Let Girls Learn and Reach Higher. Let Girls Learn is an initiative dedicated to helping girls across the world get an education. With millions of girls worldwide unable to earn a quality education, they aren’t reaching their full potential. More than that, it’s been proven that “countries with more girls in secondary school tend to have lower maternal mortality rates, lower infant mortality rates, lower rates of HIV/AIDS, and better child nutrition.”2 The importance of education is also highlighted in Reach Higher. Reach Higher is an initiative dedicated to inspiring students “to take charge of their future by completing their education past high school, whether at a professional training program, a community college, or a four-year college or university.”3 Unfortunately, it can be difficult to get a job without more than a high school diploma. Reach Higher aims to provide students with options and encourage them to take that next step in their education. Both of these initiatives resonate with the National Womxn of Color Collective because we also strive to provide resources for womxn of color who have an interest in law.

Sources:
1. https://www.whitehouse.gov/about-the-white-house/first-families/michelle-obama/
2. https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/letgirlslearn
3. https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/reach-higher

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