by GRACIE DAVIS '19
“So much history [is] yet to be made” declared First Lady Michelle Obama in her Keynote Address at the Young African Women Leaders Forum. We were discovered by early explorers. We created colonies. We shipped in slaves. We fought wars, declared independence and formed a democracy. We elected presidents. We explored and discovered. We built railroads-- underground ones too. We wrote newspapers and books. We passed laws. We finally abolished slavery. We fought for women’s rights. We survived disasters. We invented. We fought and helped win more wars, this time with the whole world. We longed for peace. We reached the stars. We protested segregation. We professed our dream. We finally obtained civil rights. We survived terrorism. We made mistakes. We made history. We elected Barack Obama, and we made some more. But still, “so much history [is] yet to be made.”
As the first African American First Lady, Michelle Obama has addressed many issues that preceding First Ladies had long avoided. As a woman, she has raised awareness for women’s education and the discrimination still faced by women around the world. As an active supporter of the government, she has embraced veterans and their families, and as a mother, she has encouraged personal wellness, equality, and education for all.
The First Lady launched the “Let’s Move!” campaign in 2010 to bring attention to the alarmingly increasing childhood obesity rate--nearly one in three children are overweight or obese--and to give informative, preventive, and curative opportunities to those in need. Through this program, she provided broader access to healthier food, stressed the importance of physical activity and most importantly, brought forth environments supportive of this health-consciousness.
“She has made me realize the importance of taking care of myself,” says sophomore Amanda Carrick. The First Lady has teamed up with parents, restaurants, schools, and entire communities to provide healthier and more accessible choices for food and fitness. She has made sure that both children and adults from as many places as possible have the resources they need to lead balanced lives.
"The things Michelle has done for children and education [are] groundbreaking. For a First Lady to have so much influence shows how revolutionary the Obama family is,” says sophomore Kara Scullin. For many children and even adults, Michelle Obama has become a role model. Kara continues, “Seeing her so passionate about something is contagious.” The First Lady then, along with Dr. Jill Biden, launched “Joining Forces” in 2011, a program with a goal to “ to ensure service members, veterans, and their families have the opportunities, resources, and support they have earned,” as quoted from their website. In 2014, Mrs. Obama launched the “Reach Higher Initiative,” encouraging people to continue their education after high school, and then with President Obama in 2015, launched “Let Girls Learn,” a movement to educate and empower young women everywhere.
We have made history with these calls for education, health, and equality. But “so much history [is] yet to be made.” She will continue to discover. She will continue to create. She will continue to fight, explore, build, write. She will continue to invent, vote, progress, and protest. She will continue to dream. She will continue to make mistakes. She will continue to make history. She is more than Michelle Obama--she is all of us--and she will continue to make history because “so much history [is] yet to be made.”