Michelle Obama quotes

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Michelle Obama

Birthdate: 17. January 1964

Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Obama is an American lawyer, university administrator, and writer, who was the first lady of the United States from 2009 to 2017. She is married to the 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama, and she was the first African American First Lady of the United States.

Raised on the South Side of Chicago, Illinois, Obama is a graduate of Princeton University and Harvard Law School. In her early legal career, she worked at the law firm Sidley Austin where she met Barack Obama. She subsequently worked in non-profits and as the associate dean of Student Services at the University of Chicago as well as the vice president for Community and External Affairs of the University of Chicago Medical Center. Michelle married Barack in 1992, and they have two daughters.

Obama campaigned for her husband's presidential bid throughout 2007 and 2008, delivering a keynote address at the 2008 Democratic National Convention. She returned to speak for him at the 2012 Democratic National Convention. During the 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, she delivered a speech in support of the Democratic presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, a former first lady.

As first lady, Obama served as a role model for women and worked as an advocate for poverty awareness, education, nutrition, physical activity, and healthy eating. She supported American designers and was considered a fashion icon. Wikipedia

„Generation after generation, this country has become more equal, more inclusive, more fair, more free.“

—  Michelle Obama

2010s, Commencement speech for Oberlin College Prep graduates (2015)
Context: ... Generation after generation, this country has become more equal, more inclusive, more fair, more free. My life and so many of your lives are a testament of that truth. But that has only happened because folks like all of you left their comfort zones and made their voices heard.

„And you know, what struck me when I first met Barack was that even though he had this funny name, even though he'd grown up all the way across the continent in Hawaii, his family was so much like mine. He was raised by grandparents who were working-class folks just like my parents, and by a single mother who struggled to pay the bills just like we did.“

—  Michelle Obama

2000s, Democratic National Convention speech (2008)
Context: And you know, what struck me when I first met Barack was that even though he had this funny name, even though he'd grown up all the way across the continent in Hawaii, his family was so much like mine. He was raised by grandparents who were working-class folks just like my parents, and by a single mother who struggled to pay the bills just like we did. Like my family, they scrimped and saved so that he could have opportunities they never had themselves. And Barack and I were raised with so many of the same values: that you work hard for what you want in life; that your word is your bond and you do what you say you're going to do; that you treat people with dignity and respect, even if you don't know them, and even if you don't agree with them.

„And she would often tell Barack, "So long as you kids do well, Bar, that's all that really matters."“

—  Michelle Obama

2010s, Democratic National Convention speech (2012)
Context: Barack's grandmother started out as a secretary at a community bank, and she moved quickly up the ranks, but like so many women, she hit a glass ceiling. And for years, men no more qualified than she was – men she had actually trained – were promoted up the ladder ahead of her, earning more and more money while Barack's family continued to scrape by. But day after day, she kept on waking up at dawn to catch the bus... arriving at work before anyone else... giving her best without complaint or regret. And she would often tell Barack, "So long as you kids do well, Bar, that's all that really matters."

„I am desperate for change — now — not in 8 years or 12 years, but right now. We don’t have time to wait.“

—  Michelle Obama

Campaign speech, quoted in "First Lady in Waiting" by Leslie Bennetts in Vanity Fair Web exclusive (27 December 2007) http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2007/12/michelle_obama200712
2000s
Context: I am desperate for change — now — not in 8 years or 12 years, but right now. We don’t have time to wait. We need big change — not just the shifting of power among insiders. We need to change the game, because the game is broken. When I think about the country I want to give my children, it’s not the world we have now. All I have to do is look into the faces of my children, and I realize how much work we need to do.

„But today, more than 150 years after the Emancipation Proclamation, more than 50 years after the end of 'separate but equal', when it comes to getting an education, too many of our young people just can’t be bothered.“

—  Michelle Obama

Remarks at Bowie State University ceremony (17 May 2013) http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/05/17/remarks-first-lady-bowie-state-university-commencement-ceremony
2010s
Context: But today, more than 150 years after the Emancipation Proclamation, more than 50 years after the end of 'separate but equal', when it comes to getting an education, too many of our young people just can’t be bothered. Today, instead of walking miles every day to school, they're sitting on couches for hours playing video games, watching T. V. Instead of dreaming of being a teacher or a lawyer or a business leader, they're fantasizing about being a baller or a rapper. Right now, one in three African American students are dropping out of high school. Only one in five African Americans between the ages of 25 and 29 has gotten a college degree; one in five.

„We have this window of opportunity; we have a chance to make something real happen. Something possible happen, to live beyond our fear — think about that, and help us.“

—  Michelle Obama

2000s, To Live Beyond Our Fear (2007)
Context: We have this window of opportunity; we have a chance to make something real happen. Something possible happen, to live beyond our fear — think about that, and help us. Help lift us up, help us fight this fight to change — transform — this country in a fundamental way.
This chance won’t come around again.

„It is our fundamental belief in the power of hope that has allowed us to rise above the voices of doubt and division, of anger and fear that we have faced in our own lives and in the life of this country. Our hope that if we work hard enough and believe in ourselves, then we can be whatever we dream, regardless of the limitations that others may place on us. The hope that when people see us for who we truly are, maybe, just maybe they, too, will be inspired to rise to their best possible selves.“

—  Michelle Obama

2010s, Farewell Speech (2017)
Context: When you encounter obstacles — because I guarantee you, you will, and many of you already have — when you are struggling and you start thinking about giving up, I want you to remember something that my husband and I have talked about since we first started this journey nearly a decade ago, something that has carried us through every moment in this White House and every moment of our lives, and that is the power of hope — the belief that something better is always possible if you're willing to work for it and fight for it.
It is our fundamental belief in the power of hope that has allowed us to rise above the voices of doubt and division, of anger and fear that we have faced in our own lives and in the life of this country. Our hope that if we work hard enough and believe in ourselves, then we can be whatever we dream, regardless of the limitations that others may place on us. The hope that when people see us for who we truly are, maybe, just maybe they, too, will be inspired to rise to their best possible selves.

„And even as a kid, I knew there were plenty of days when he was in pain…I knew there were plenty of mornings when it was a struggle for him to simply get out of bed.“

—  Michelle Obama

2010s, Democratic National Convention speech (2012)
Context: My father was a pump operator at the city water plant, and he was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis when my brother and I were young. And even as a kid, I knew there were plenty of days when he was in pain... I knew there were plenty of mornings when it was a struggle for him to simply get out of bed.

„Barack and I talked long and hard about this decision.“

—  Michelle Obama

2000s, To Live Beyond Our Fear (2007)
Context: Barack and I talked long and hard about this decision. You know, this wasn’t an easy decision for us, because we’ve got two beautiful little girls, and we have a wonderful life, and everything was going fine. And there was nothing that would have been more disruptive than a decision to run for President of the United States.
And as more people talk to us about it, I mean the question came up again and again. What people were most concerned about: they were afraid. It was fear. Fear, again, raising its ugly head, in one of the most important decisions we would make. Fear; fear of everything. Fear that we might lose. Fear that he might get hurt. Fear that this would be ugly. Fear that it would hurt our family. Fear.
But you know, the reason why I said yes was because I was tired of being afraid. I am tired of living in a country where every decision that we’ve made over the last ten years wasn’t for something, but it was because people told us we had to fear something. We had to fear people who looked different from us. Fear people who believed in things that were different from us. Fear of one another right here in our own backyards.
I am so tired of fear. And I don’t want my girls to live in a country, in a world, based on fear.

„Be focused. Be determined. Be hopeful. Be empowered. Empower yourselves with a good education, then get out there and use that education to build a country worthy of your boundless promise. Lead by example with hope, never fear.“

—  Michelle Obama

2010s, Farewell Speech (2017)
Context: I want our young people to know that they matter, that they belong. So don't be afraid—you hear me, young people? Don't be afraid. Be focused. Be determined. Be hopeful. Be empowered. Empower yourselves with a good education, then get out there and use that education to build a country worthy of your boundless promise. Lead by example with hope, never fear. And know that I will be with you, rooting for you and working to support you for the rest of my life.

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„When I listened to my own voice and cast the cynics aside, when I forged ahead and overcame the doubts and fears of others about who I was and what I could become, I found that their doubts and fears were misplaced. Funny thing, the more I achieved, the more I found that I was just as ready, just as qualified, just as capable as those who felt entitled to the seat at the table that I was working so hard for. And I realized that those who had been given the mantle of power in this country didn’t have any magic about them. They were no better, no smarter than me. That gnawing sense of self-doubt that is common within all of us is a lie. It’s just in our heads. Nine times out of ten, we are more ready and more prepared than we could ever know.“

—  Michelle Obama

2000s, A Challenge to Overcome (November 2007)
Context: So these were the voices I was hearing growing up. And they gave me the strength and courage to overcome the doubt and fear I was hearing in other corners of my community. From classmates who thought a black girl with a book was acting white. From teachers who told me not to reach too high because my test scores were too low. And from well-meaning but misguided folks who said, “no, you can’t,” “you’re not smart enough,” and “you’re not ready.” Who said “success isn’t meant for little black girls from the South Side of Chicago.” And you know what? When I listened to my own voice and cast the cynics aside, when I forged ahead and overcame the doubts and fears of others about who I was and what I could become, I found that their doubts and fears were misplaced. Funny thing, the more I achieved, the more I found that I was just as ready, just as qualified, just as capable as those who felt entitled to the seat at the table that I was working so hard for. And I realized that those who had been given the mantle of power in this country didn’t have any magic about them. They were no better, no smarter than me. That gnawing sense of self-doubt that is common within all of us is a lie. It’s just in our heads. Nine times out of ten, we are more ready and more prepared than we could ever know.

„I’m here tonight because I want to share with you just two fundamental lessons that I’ve learned in my own life, lessons grounded in the courage, love and faith“

—  Michelle Obama

2010s, Commencement speech for Martin Luther King Jr. College Prep graduates (2015)
Context: I’m here tonight because I want to share with you just two fundamental lessons that I’ve learned in my own life, lessons grounded in the courage, love and faith that define this community and that I continue to live by to this day. Now, the first lesson is very simple, and that is, don’t ever be afraid to ask for help. And I cannot stress that enough. [... ] See, when I started my freshman year at Princeton, I felt totally overwhelmed and out of place. I had never spent any meaningful time on a college campus. I had never been away from home for an extended period of time. I had no idea how to choose my classes, to — how to take notes in a large lecture. And then I looked around at my classmates, and they all seemed so happy and comfortable and confident. They never seemed to question whether they belonged at a school like Princeton. [... ] as I got to know my classmates, I realized something important. I realized that they were all struggling with something, but instead of hiding their struggles and trying to deal with them all alone, they reached out. They asked for help. If they didn’t understand something in class, they would raise their hand and ask a question, then they’d go to professor’s office hours and ask even more questions. And they were never embarrassed about it, not one bit. Because they knew that that’s how you succeed in life. See, growing up, they had the expectation that they would succeed, and that they would have the resources they needed to achieve their goals. So whether it was taking an SAT-prep class, getting a math tutor, seeking advice from a teacher or counselor — they took advantage of every opportunity they had. So I decided to follow their lead. I found an advisor who helped me choose my classes. I went to the multicultural student center and met older students who became my mentor. And soon enough, I felt like I had this college thing all figured out. And, graduates, wherever you are headed, I guarantee you that there will be all kinds of folks who are eager to help you, but they are not going to come knocking on your door to find you. You have to take responsibility to find them. [... ] And if someone isn’t helpful, if they are impatient or unfriendly, then just find somebody else. You may have to go to a second, or third, or a fourth person but if you keep asking. And if you understand that getting help isn’t a sign of weakness but a sign of strength, then I guarantee you that you will get what you need to succeed.

„Well today, after so many struggles and triumphs and moments that have tested my husband in ways I never could have imagined, and I have seen firsthand that being president does not change who you are. No, it reveals the you are.“

—  Michelle Obama

2010s, Democratic National Convention speech (2012)
Context: Those are the values that Barack and I and so many of you are trying to pass on to our own children. That's who we are. And standing before you four years ago, I knew that I did not want any of that to change if Barack became president. Well today, after so many struggles and triumphs and moments that have tested my husband in ways I never could have imagined, and I have seen firsthand that being president does not change who you are. No, it reveals the you are.

„The thing that I want you all to remember: please, please, don’t base your vote, this time, on fear. Base it on possibility. Think. Listen. The game of politics is to make you afraid so that you don’t think.“

—  Michelle Obama

2000s, To Live Beyond Our Fear (2007)
Context: The thing that I want you all to remember: please, please, don’t base your vote, this time, on fear. Base it on possibility. Think. Listen. The game of politics is to make you afraid so that you don’t think. And what we need right now isn’t political rhetoric, it isn’t game-playing. We need leadership; we need people with judgment; we need decent people, people with common sense, people with strong family values. People who understand the world.

„With every word we utter, with every action we take, we know our kids are watching us. We as parents are their most important role models.“

—  Michelle Obama

2010s, 2016 Democratic National Convention (2016)
Context: With every word we utter, with every action we take, we know our kids are watching us. We as parents are their most important role models. And let me tell you, Barack and I take that same approach to our jobs as president and first lady because we know that our words and actions matter, not just to our girls, but the children across this country, kids who tell us I saw you on TV, I wrote a report on you for school.

„We wanted to make higher education cool. We wanted to change the conversation around what it means and what it takes to be a success in this country.“

—  Michelle Obama

2010s, Farewell Speech (2017)
Context: I want to recognize all of you who are here in this audience. We have our educators, our leaders, our young people who have been with us since we launched Reach Higher https://www.whitehouse.gov/reach-higher back in 2014. Now, when we first came up with this idea, we had one clear goal in mind: We wanted to make higher education cool. We wanted to change the conversation around what it means and what it takes to be a success in this country. Because let's be honest, if we're always shining the spotlight on professional athletes or recording artists or Hollywood celebrities, if those are the only achievements we celebrate, then why would we ever think kids would see college as a priority?

„These men and women show them that those kids matter; that they have something to offer; that no matter where they're from or how much money their parents have, no matter what they look like or who they love or how they worship or what language they speak at home, they have a place in this country.“

—  Michelle Obama

2010s, Farewell Speech (2017)
Context: These men and women show them that those kids matter; that they have something to offer; that no matter where they're from or how much money their parents have, no matter what they look like or who they love or how they worship or what language they speak at home, they have a place in this country.
And as I end my time in the White House, I can think of no better message to send our young people in my last official remarks as First Lady. So for all the young people in this room and those who are watching, know that this country belongs to you—to all of you, from every background and walk of life. If you or your parents are immigrants, know that you are part of a proud American tradition — the infusion of new cultures, talents and ideas, generation after generation, that has made us the greatest country on earth.

„What people were most concerned about: they were afraid. It was fear. Fear, again, raising its ugly head, in one of the most important decisions we would make. Fear; fear of everything.“

—  Michelle Obama

2000s, To Live Beyond Our Fear (2007)
Context: Barack and I talked long and hard about this decision. You know, this wasn’t an easy decision for us, because we’ve got two beautiful little girls, and we have a wonderful life, and everything was going fine. And there was nothing that would have been more disruptive than a decision to run for President of the United States.
And as more people talk to us about it, I mean the question came up again and again. What people were most concerned about: they were afraid. It was fear. Fear, again, raising its ugly head, in one of the most important decisions we would make. Fear; fear of everything. Fear that we might lose. Fear that he might get hurt. Fear that this would be ugly. Fear that it would hurt our family. Fear.
But you know, the reason why I said yes was because I was tired of being afraid. I am tired of living in a country where every decision that we’ve made over the last ten years wasn’t for something, but it was because people told us we had to fear something. We had to fear people who looked different from us. Fear people who believed in things that were different from us. Fear of one another right here in our own backyards.
I am so tired of fear. And I don’t want my girls to live in a country, in a world, based on fear.

„I am so tired of fear. And I don’t want my girls to live in a country, in a world, based on fear.“

—  Michelle Obama

2000s, To Live Beyond Our Fear (2007)
Context: Barack and I talked long and hard about this decision. You know, this wasn’t an easy decision for us, because we’ve got two beautiful little girls, and we have a wonderful life, and everything was going fine. And there was nothing that would have been more disruptive than a decision to run for President of the United States.
And as more people talk to us about it, I mean the question came up again and again. What people were most concerned about: they were afraid. It was fear. Fear, again, raising its ugly head, in one of the most important decisions we would make. Fear; fear of everything. Fear that we might lose. Fear that he might get hurt. Fear that this would be ugly. Fear that it would hurt our family. Fear.
But you know, the reason why I said yes was because I was tired of being afraid. I am tired of living in a country where every decision that we’ve made over the last ten years wasn’t for something, but it was because people told us we had to fear something. We had to fear people who looked different from us. Fear people who believed in things that were different from us. Fear of one another right here in our own backyards.
I am so tired of fear. And I don’t want my girls to live in a country, in a world, based on fear.

„He never stopped smiling and laughing — even while struggling to button his shirt, even while using two canes to get himself across the room to give my mom a kiss. He just woke up a little earlier and worked a little harder.“

—  Michelle Obama

2000s, Democratic National Convention speech (2008)
Context: My dad was our rock. Although he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in his early 30s, he was our provider, our champion, our hero. As he got sicker, it got harder for him to walk, it took him longer to get dressed in the morning. But if he was in pain, he never let on. He never stopped smiling and laughing — even while struggling to button his shirt, even while using two canes to get himself across the room to give my mom a kiss. He just woke up a little earlier and worked a little harder.

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

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