Vocate’s Wall of Fame: Michelle Obama
This article is part of our series Vocate’s Wall of Fame. Each person described in the series is someone who has inspired the Vocate team and who we believe represents what “unlocking human potential” means. Quite literally, the Wall of Fame exists in our office (printed out images framed on the wall) and every week we vote in a new honoree.
Michelle Obama is a personal hero of mine, as she is for many other Americans. Although I am very excited to write a blog post acknowledging all that she has done for our country, especially women, I am also nervous this post will not do her justice. So here it goes.
The 44th First Lady of the US graced us with her dignity, strength, humor, and genuine care for every individual in America as soon as she stepped foot in the White House. She truly revolutionized the role of the First Lady, reaching out and inspiring individuals across all ethnicities, genders, and ages. Michelle Obama’s deep love for her family and her daughters is translated into how she cared for the people of our nation. She championed social issues and the importance of education during Barack Obama’s eight years in office.
Michelle Obama encouraged everyone around the globe to embrace and be committed to education. In fact, she was committed to seven initiatives, all of which promoted the intrinsic benefits of expanding education to all, and in doing so, she tackled social justice with this platform. Mrs. Obama understands education as a critical instrument for empowering girls into becoming female leaders. Obama called upon global leaders and Americans, and often focused on the importance of female education. She pressed world leaders to ensure equal schooling opportunities for girls to which boys are privileged. Obama is committed to securing identical education opportunities for both boys and girls as an imperative in advancing women and our world. Obama asked Americans to acknowledge and embrace the potential and value of every girl around the world — to perceive each young woman’s potential as if they were our own daughters and granddaughters.
This understanding of global female potential can be fully realized in equal quality education. Mrs. Obama implored teenage girls to take their learning seriously, especially as equal education is not a privilege observed globally. Her recognition and attention to the potential and capabilities of females empowered girls worldwide.
The First Lady’s focus on educational imperatives for girls and young women parallels her contributions to African American social justice, and is very poignant. She believes that education is the “single most important” concern for African Americans. Obama urges African Americans to further their education level past secondary school and to commit to increasing attendance despite poor schooling conditions. This sort of pledge to education is vital, as she argues, for combating “mass incarceration, poverty, racial profiling, voting rights” and other forms of racism. Her initiatives highlight education as a means of unlocking human potential. These imperatives are foundational to liberating and empowering disadvantaged individuals across the world. Obama genuinely wants every person to succeed and attain their fullest capability. She perceives education to be the engine for this achievement.
Michelle Obama’s care for the well being of every American is also demonstrated in her advocation for a strong, healthy lifestyle. She launched “Let’s Move” to solve obesity and change the way younger generations understand nutrition, physical and emotional welfare. This initiative expanded with her “HealthierUS School Challenge” in which schools promoted healthier eating habits. This is attributable to motivating students to eat healthier, which leads to improved academic performance. Beyond combatting childhood obesity, she challenges gender norms with her impressive arm strength. Her commitment to her own physical strength and physical well-being empowers girls to look past gender constructs and focus their potential to become stronger and fitter.
Obama has worked relentlessly to embolden and empower the younger generation and marginalized individuals. Her genuine care and desire to see Americans succeed has influenced me many ways. She has faced social injustices imposed by race and gender. She received much personal scrutiny with her husband in public office. However, Mrs. Obama remains resilient, positive and composed. Obama has thrived under pressure and has changed the dialogue and dynamic of how young women should be treated in the United States. Michelle Obama is my role model. I aspire to be a similar leader and to be as strong as she is. Thank you Michelle Obama for all your encouragement and grace. I cannot wait to see the progress she drives in the future.
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To show our appreciation, we’re sending her a letter, written by her nominator, Emma White!