Dear Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Obama,
Woman, mother, wife, lawyer, writer, social activist, style icon, and first African American lady of the United States of America, it is my honor to have served this great nation with you, to have been implemented in everything you’ve accomplished. It is with great esteem that you have taken on the task of not solely becoming the wife of the president, but a figure of great influence for the American people and so many others. You are not a footnote in American history, you are a growing chapter in flux.
Women are not weak or victims. Women are not brewing with a fermenting hatred for men. Women long for equality. Women long to be seen and heard. Women will not remain the targets.
Born in South Side Chicago, Illinois, you are one of two siblings that shared a living room divided by a sheet as a makeshift bedroom in a small bungalow. By the age of four, you learned to read. Your close-knit family dynamic and emphasis on education kept your frame of mind centered on progression. After attending Whitney M. Young Magnet High School for gifted children, you went on to graduate Cum Laude from Princeton University in 1985, and later earned a degree from Harvard Law School in 1988. While working in a Chicago law firm, you met your husband Barack Obama. Since then, as first lady, social issues, such as poverty, healthy living and education have acquired your full attention.
How do you do it? How does one become a poem, a muse, the subject of inspiration? It is in the poise of your presence, the profundity of your mind, and the bottomless grace of your heart. You are woman, phenomenal woman that’s you. Your legacy will not be your obedience, reserved nature, and inviting tone. Lemony Snicket would call you remarkably brave and bravely remarkable. How lucky was Barack when he found a woman who he could rule the world with. I couldn’t have said it any better than your husband so eloquently did, “ You made the white house a place that belongs to everybody. And a new generation sets its sights higher because it has you as a role model.”
You continue to change the narrative around women’s issues, all the while remaining articulate, funny and forward thinking. Women, including women of color, are not outnumbered or alone. Women are not weak or victims. Women are not brewing with a fermenting hatred for men. Women long for equality. Women long to be seen and heard. Women will not remain the targets. They will be too busy breaking stigmas, expressing their opinions, solidifying the validity of their existence, in part because of you. Women found the bounds before them were drawn by the blind, those who could not see how far they had the capacity of flying, how strong their wings were. You brought much needed color to the white house. Galvanized a nation of girls who saw a lack of representation in a political regime that is supposed to represent the American people. As a result, they rise to redefine what it means to be a woman for themselves, they will grow to impact a nation inspired by you.
You reminded girls how valuable and how precious they are. In a time and place where the beauty of black women has gone unnoticed and ignored, you and your husband reminded everyone how important it is to recognize and appreciate them.
During a time when the world seems to be overlooking meeting the minimum qualification of human decency, choosing to devalue its nations women, you encourage the United States not to fear each other, not to feel inferior to one another because of their color, gender, or wealth. They are the things that humans have made to matter more than they do. I am in the way humans live their lives, the way they treat each other with no regard to social constructs. You’ve given so many black women a chance to prove people wrong. Representation matters. It is integral, and not only did you represent girls and women everywhere, but you did it with grace. You’ve given women agency and power during a time where they feel themselves losing their grasp on it, and inspired those with a grasp on it to hold on tighter. You reminded girls how valuable and how precious they are. In a time and place where the beauty of black women has gone unnoticed and ignored, you and your husband reminded everyone how important it is to recognize and appreciate them.
You have influenced several generations of women to live their lives out loud. Reminding us “The measure of any society is how it treats its women and girls.” The nation is reborn. A generation of children with fire in their stomachs and electricity in their bones. In recognizing you, I hope that all black women feel recognized, I hope that black women see their value, that their self-sacrifice and power can not go unnoticed much longer. Look at how strong black women have remained without receiving validation. I do not expect women to continue making the world turn without acknowledgement. While President Barack Obama served in office, you did not stand behind him, you stood beside him. I celebrate you and how honored I am to find myself in you amplified and shared but never diminished. It’s possible and we both know it. That one can have beauty, share it and never run out. The well of beauty is bottomless and bountiful when drawn and shared with others.
Your beauty is not an isolated incident, it is a chain reaction of change spreading throughout the country. It pains me to see you leave the White House as much as it hurts me to see your husband leave, but your work in the White House has come to a close, I find myself in your farewell. And despite your exit, I foresee myself in the all things you will touch. I thank you for your time and dedication, you, the epitome of first lady excellence.