|Michelle Obama / Parade Magazine
Dear Mrs O.,
I watched your farewell interview with Oprah Winfrey a few weeks ago & held back tears: tears of sadness at the thought of your forthcoming departure from the White House, and tears of joy for having had the privilege of experiencing what, just a few decades ago, was thought to be impossible: a black family in residence at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Now, knowing that in a few hours, we will have a new First Lady, I felt compelled to bid you a proper goodbye.
In your farewell interview, one particular quote stood out:
We...as black women, better be able to [handle opposition], because there's so much that comes at us all the time, every day in subtle ways, that [it] could tear your soul apart if you let it...
Despite all the opposition that was thrown at you these past 8 years, you stood, strong and unbroken, exuding elegance, dignity, & #BlackGirlMagic in everything you did. Michelle LaVaughn Robinson-Obama, girl of the Southside, you are living proof that beside every great man is an equally great (maybe even greater) woman. Your self-awareness is absolutely refreshing. You have taught young women like me that, among other things, we have the right to speak our minds, the right to be both beauty and brains, and most stylishly, the right to bare arms. You walk so confidently and unapologetically in your brilliance while simultaneously celebrating and nurturing the brilliance your husband possesses. The way he speaks of you in his speeches makes it clear that he honors you, valuing not just your love, but also your friendship. You truly are his confidant and number one supporter.
Today, your final day in the White House, social media outlets were flooded with tributes to your family to reflect on this iconic era in our nation's history. You and your husband have made hope, excellence, greatness—even something as great as the White House—a tangible dream for Black Americans. President Obama wasn't perfect, but his bipartisanship, his confidence, & his unwavering resilience in the face of adversity outweighed his mistakes. Because of him, little Black children (especially those who have ONLY known a Black president) believe that anything is possible. Because you stood poised so firmly beside him, he was a better man, and thus, a better Commander-in-Chief. Because of you two, little Black boys and girls had a clear picture of what to aspire to. We believed that we could change the world. As far as I am concerned, no President and First Lady will ever compare to you. You were the example of class and grace that America needed, an example that we will never forget. So, although there will never seem to be enough words to adequately express my gratitude for your family's sacrifice, simply, sincerely, thank you.
A black millenial who believes she can, too