When they go low, we go high. Michelle Obama for Person of the Year.

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It was announced today that President Elect Donald Trump is TIME Magazine’s Person of the Year for 2016. Citing that the recognition is a measure of influence, for better or worse, TIME noted that “it’s hard to measure the scale of [Trump’s] disruption.” 

 

We believe that influence is not impartial. 

This belief underpins our programs that connect youth to positive role models. It underpins our programs that bring together adults who differ in race, gender, and class to help them see new perspectives. It underpins our advocacy work that puts the voices and interests of marginalized people in front of decision makers. As such, we believe the Person of the Year needs to be someone who has had the greatest positive influence.

Our 2016 Person of the Year is First Lady Michelle Obama. 

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In 2016, Michelle Obama lifted up the entire nation with her message of “When they go low, we go high,” encouraging all people to take the high road of hope, of respect, and of dignity when faced with discrimination and harassment. 

This historic speech is but one example of Michelle Obama actively using her influence to bring about a healthier, more just, and more peaceful community.

Her bio on whitehouse.gov sums it up:

First Lady Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Obama is a lawyer, writer, and the wife of the 44th and current President, Barack Obama. She is the first African-American First Lady of the United States. Through her four main initiatives, she has become a role model for women and an advocate for healthy families, service members and their families, higher education, and international adolescent girls education.

But, she goes beyond simply being a role model through her professional achievements and position as the first First Lady of color. In her time in the White House, she has launched no less than four nationwide initiatives towards positive change:

  • Let’s Move!, which brings together community leaders, educators, medical professionals, parents, and others in a nationwide effort to address the challenge of childhood obesity and create a healthier community. The initiative is particularly focused on giving parents the support they need to make healthier choices for their children.
  • Joining Forces, which calls all Americans to support service members, veterans, and their families through wellness, education, and employment opportunities. The initiative works across sectors to ensure that service members, veterans, and their families have the tools they need to succeed throughout their lives.
  • Reach Higher, which inspires and empowers young people across America to take charge of their future by completing their education past high school. The initiative exposes students to college and career opportunities, helps them understand financial aid eligibility, and supports high school counselors in their essential work on behalf of students.
  • Let Girls Learn, which helps girls around the world attend and remain in school. The initiative involves securing cooperation from foreign governments to educate and empower their young female citizens, and sharing inspirational stories of these young women committed to their education.

 

 

We celebrate Michelle Obama and all who made a positive difference in 2016. Remember, we all have influence to use for good!