On Friday, Michelle Obama delivered a stirring speech in which she took a thinly veiled stab at President Trump’s behavior and its impact on children.
She was presenting the 2018 ASCA School Counselor of the Year award at the Kennedy Center on February 2:
Trust me, I know this work isn’t easy. Especially right now. I know there’s a lot of anxiety out there. And there’s no denying our kids, what they see on TV, the kind of behavior being modeled in public life, that, yes, impacts their behavior and their character.
But at times like this, the work that you all are doing is even more urgent, even more critically important. You all have the power to teach kids what it means to go high when others go low.
The former first lady also alluded to Trump’s campaign slogan, Make America Great Again, during her address, according to CNN:
Folks who model decency and dignity and integrity for our kids every single day, see, that’s who we are. That, more than anything, is what shapes our children—and that’s what makes America great.
In a reference to Trump’s troubling immigration policies, she said,
Every day you all have the power to shape and mold these kids; to inspire them when they feel discouraged; to remind them that they belong; that no matter how much money they have or where their family comes from, this is their country too. You have that power.
You have the power to show them that no matter what their race, or faith, or walk of life, they are valued for who they are…and no matter how alone or afraid they might feel, they are seen, and they are loved.
Last year, Mrs. Obama also handed out the annual award—but at the White House, in what was her final speech as First Lady. She said,
Don’t ever let anyone make you feel like you don’t matter, or like you don’t have a place in our American story. You do.
So, that’s my final message to young people as First Lady. It’s simple. I want our young people to know that they matter, that they belong. So don’t be afraid. Do you hear me, young people? Don’t be afraid. Be focused. Be determined. Be hopeful. Be empowered. Empower yourself with a good education.