As Black History Month comes to a close, I want to talk about a woman who has changed our world for the better. Both during and after her husband’s time in office, Michelle Obama was undoubtedly an outstanding First Lady. Not only was she a classy representation of our country from the start, but she also started numerous programs committed to attacking nationwide obesity, helping underfunded communities and veterans, and empowering young girls of all races both nationwide and global.
While her husband established the Task Force on Childhood Obesity in office, Michelle launched her "Let’s Move!" initiative in 2010, which targeted childhood obesity and aimed to provide healthier, more affordable eating options in schools so each student had an equal opportunity to have a healthier diet.
According to Krissah Thompson of The Washington Post, Michelle also helped pass a federal law, The School Lunch program, that provides free and reduced lunch to over 21 million low-income children in underfunded households, requiring school districts to serve more fruit, vegetables, grains, protein and other nutritional options.
With the attention of major national grocers such as Walgreens and Walmart, she encouraged these big-time supermarkets to build in communities without access to affordable healthy foods, which also flooded these communities with more employment opportunities and an expanded variety of food options.
I believe it is no coincidence that the Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported the prevalence of obesity significantly decreased across 45 states from 2010-2014.
Our former First Lady quickly proved she was not afraid to use her position to be as public and as resourceful as she wanted while still being an undeniably likable woman.
During her nutrition reform, she publicly danced with vegetables, Jimmy Fallon and queen Beyoncé on national TV platforms and commercials.
She continuously shows the love she has for America by bringing attention to several underrated issues and working hard to improve them in any way she can, even to this day.
In 2011, Michelle teamed up with Jill Biden, former Vice President Joe Biden's wife, to lead Joining Forces, a nationwide initiative asking all Americans to support veterans and their families by tackling common issues such as unemployment and homelessness. This program was very beneficial to the military community, as it brought together civilians and veterans and provided more opportunities, outreach and support for those in need.
Later in 2015, Michelle joined former President Barack Obama in founding Let Girls Learn, a U.S. government initiative committed to helping young girls receive the education they deserve worldwide. According to Annamarya Scaccia of Romper, Let Girls Learn reached over 50 countries and raised around $5 million to help the 62 million unschooled girls internationally.
Though she has honorable competition (shout out to the lovely Jacqueline Kennedy), our former First Lady simply wins best overall just by honestly being herself. Aside from the many efforts she has made to improve our country, and her beautifully genuine personality, she is the first African-American First Lady this country has ever known.
She completely remodeled the views of young women of color everywhere, all the while challenging the doubts of close-minded individuals across the nation.
Growing up in grade school, I remember learning about the presidents and our history, and it was not frequently that I learned of women who looked like me in important positions, or hearing positive stories of black women outside of Black History Month.
Therefore, when I was finally able to see the Obamas represent America so positively throughout the negativity and hatred they received, it opened up new possibilities of the things I could do with my life. For me, to suddenly want to see myself as the First Lady of the United States was so important for me and other young girls, because it became a constant reminder that I could truly do whatever I put my mind to at such a crucial age in life.
Michelle Obama has definitely set a legacy as First Lady, and will forever be a tough act to follow. From her charm to the advances she made for our country, I highly doubt we will see a First Lady of her quality anytime soon.