I’ve watched you for the past eight years. You’ve moved and led with such the perfect combination of grace and strength. The way you support your husband and stand in the face of giants is admirable. There is not a bad thing anyone could say about you.
I’ve watched you mother your girls. You’ve kept them covered. Protected. And they’re absolutely beautiful.
It’s Black History Month, as you know, FLOTUS, and I must say: You changed history in my household -- something that I will never forget, and neither will my daughter. But it wasn’t a “traditional” Black History Moment.
A couple of months ago, my daughter Kayna’s school (Osage Elementary) sent home a letter. The letter stated that they would be doing something called “The Hall of Presidents” and that in this presentation, if our daughter wanted an “extra” opportunity, she could participate in the First Ladies presentation where each 2nd grade girl who volunteered could portray a First Lady.
After Kayna said she wanted to participate, I sent an e-mail to her teacher saying she wanted to take part. When she came home that day, she proclaimed excitedly: “Mommy, mommy! I get to be Michelle Obama! I get to be Michelle Obama!”
Tears welled up. I wasn’t sure if I should show her my joy or not. I didn’t want to taint her experience and excitement which was different than mine. My tears came because I remember playing Betsy Ross in the 4th grade at our President’s Day presentation. It was either that or only having the opportunities to play Harriet Tubman or any other remarkable slave. But this? This is a game changer. And what was most beautiful about it? She wasn’t excited because First Lady Michelle Obama is black. She was excited because she is our current First Lady of the United States of America. My daughter is eight, and has been alive for as long as you've been in the White House - so you're all she's known. It's normal for her to see you in this place.
And FLOTUS, whether the nation has been 100% in agreement with you, your husband or the politics that tend to outweigh some of life’s greatest truths, this was life changing. And my reality is that I am conflicted about Black History Month because we are more than slaves. We are more than what happened thousands of years ago or even 60 years ago. There are black leaders and black activists, business owners, dancers, actors, poets, and yes, now a First Lady of the United States that have made history.
FLOTUS, she was proud. She could identify with you. When she created her small, short speech, she studied you. And I was glad she did. She even wanted to wear orange like you because it’s what you wore for the State of the Union.
My family and I are extremely big on diversity and creating platforms where people of all ethnic backgrounds can understand one another and grow thereby. My husband and mine’s professions in ministry and non-profit work allows us to work with all kinds of people from all walks of life. But this? This made being a brown girl in 2016 something to brag about because it had nothing to do with just being brown. It had to do with being a person. And with all of the shootings, accusations, and struggles in our country with race relations, this is my open letter to you. Thank you. Thank you.
My sincerest prayer is that these are the moments that become stamped in history. And that we can celebrate great accomplishments that happened through a person in humanity; in society. That we see people as people. When I ask my daughter to describe her friends to me, she doesn’t see color. This generation is growing up different. Having a Black President and First Lady makes it more accessible and more accepting for children to identify themselves in leadership positions across different sectors in the nation. And that makes them see color less. We can learn from a page in their book. I’m not saying this nation still doesn’t have issues. I’m not saying that it’s not deeper rooted due to people’s backgrounds and experiences. But what I am saying is that there’s hope. And moments like these prove just that.