Every time I have to fill up a form that asks about my education, my heart gives a few happy thumps. It’s not the fact that I have a college degree. And a master degree (sorry for bragging, I’m just really proud of it). It’s the way how this came about. It was my mother who always insisted on us, her three children, to go to college and get the education that was denied to her. And even my brother, who hated school, managed to get his degree after... let’s call it a long struggle with knowledge of about eight years. All because one woman insisted it was the best thing we could do and worked her butt off to make it possible for us.
So writing this portrait about a woman whose first and foremost goal is to make education possible for everyone who wants it, and for those who don’t want it, like my brother, is a strongly emotional undertaking. And a very satisfying one.
She’s the second Obama on our portrait52 list, but she actually should have been the first. They say that behind every great man... you know the trope. It doesn’t apply here. Not only does Michelle not hide in the shadows, she is the shining star of the Obamas. Sorry Barack, we love you, but it’s Michelle we adore.
Chris: “Michelle Obama. She’s an icon - not only the wife of a former American president. She always stands up for those who need support. She fights for those whose rights are ignored. She never loses her sense for justice. This woman is a role model for all of us. She said “Choose people who lift you up!” Michelle, we choose you, you lift us up.”
Maddie: “Michelle Obama is an incredibly smart person, and she has achieved so much through hard work and courage. Despite having a lot of hardships in her life. She shows me that it’s worth working hard if you want to achieve more.”
Diana: “It’s difficult to actually say something, because every time I see Michelle Obama or think of her, I just have to think of how cool she is. She is amazing! Her charisma is of the charts. Strong, powerful, intelligent, authentic. Her drive is contagious. I really think she is one of those women who can change the world, and that’s why I’m so sad that she doesn’t want to run for president.”
I think Michelle Obama would make a great American president. I also think America needs a woman to take the lead, it needs compassion, understanding, tolerance and inclusion. It needs to start giving up on things, in order to gain other, more important ones. But then again, that’s what the whole world needs.
So I understand why she doesn’t want to run for president. Because she doesn’t need restrains and regulations and white men with power to stop her from doing the right things. She knows that from her current position she can actually do more. Presidents come and go, but the causes she fights for don’t have legislative sessions, they need to be fought for constantly.
When I tell people that I have a degree in linguistics and a master in dramatic arts, they often ask why I didn’t study something that would earn me money. But money shouldn’t be the reason why we study, knowledge should. Because knowledge gives us the tools we need to change the world. Michelle has them and uses them constantly.