During her final official speech as first lady, an emotional Michelle Obama urged young people to be empowered and lead ‘with hope, never fear.’ (Reuters)
Michelle Obama began to cry as she delivered her final public remarks from the White House on Friday morning at an event celebrating school counselors. Her message, which was directed toward young people, was one of hope and inclusion.
“It is our fundamental belief in the power of hope that has allowed us to rise above the voices of doubt and division . . . that we have faced in our own lives and in the life of this country,” Obama said as her voice cracked. “Our hope that if we work hard and believe in ourselves then we can be whatever we dream regardless of the limitations that others would place on us.
“That’s the kind of hope that every single one of us, politicians, parents, preachers, need to be providing for our kids, because that is what moves this country forward — our hope for the future.”
The first lady, who campaigned energetically for Hillary Clinton, was clearly disappointed by the recent election results; her emphasis that “hope” is what makes the country move forward appears to be a repudiation of President-elect Donald Trump’s campaign slogan, asserting that he will “Make America great again.”
The school counselor awards ceremony, which Obama began hosting in the White House in 2015, is reflective of the first lady’s focus on young people and opening the White House to groups who typically aren’t invited to the historic mansion.
She became tearful near the end of her speech, discussing the hopes of her father, a municipal water plant worker in Chicago, that his children would be successful. She said she also wanted young people to know they belong in America,…