The U.S. has recently been gripped by outrage over rampant police brutality, and protests have been held in major cities across the country for days on end. President Donald Trump has mostly stuck to tweeting belligerent insults while hiding out in the White House, but leaders like former First Lady Michelle Obama are stepping up to pick up some of the major leadership slack that Trump has left behind. This Sunday, a virtual commencement message from the former First Lady released, which was designed for a special web event honoring 2020 graduates in light of the many in-person events that have been cancelled. Michelle Obama encouraged viewers to use their outrage about the current state of affairs in the United States as an impetus for change.
‘To anyone who’s feeling invisible: Know that your story matters. Your ideas, your experiences, your vision for our world all matter. Your anger—that matters too. But left on its own, it will only corrode, destroy, and sow chaos—on the inside and out. Dr. King was angry. Sojourner Truth was angry. Lucretia Mott, Cesar Chavez, the folks at Stonewall—they were all angry. But they were also driven by compassion, by principle—by hope. And if you hold strong with the same faith that carried all those giants before you toward real, measurable progress—you will change the course of history.’
So much has changed so quickly. And if any of you are confused or scared or angry—or just plain overwhelmed—I just want you to know that you aren’t alone. I am feeling all that, too. And I have a few things I want to say about it. https://t.co/kUZeBzC8xP pic.twitter.com/0zOQpEcX9K
— Michelle Obama (@MichelleObama) June 7, 2020
She added a few specific suggestions, encouraging observers to protest when they can and make sure to vote when the time comes. After all, as she and others have noted, there are even a number of other important races besides the presidential one. Many people responsible for local policy are elected on the local level in very accessible elections.
Read some of her remarks below:
It’s tough to imagine the current president ever saying anything like any of that. It’s notable that although he’s the current president of the United States, he’s mostly been excluded from many of these big-name graduation events that have taken place. Who wants to hear from him, anyway?
Watch the former First Lady’s speech in full:
Check out some of Twitter’s response to Michelle Obama below: