As President Barack Obama leaves office, his legacywill be hotly debated. For Maleché Moss and India Smith, however, the first black president’s impact has less to do with him and more to do with his wife.
“She was one of the first first ladies to actually go to an Ivy League college and be successful,” said Moss, who like Smith is 16.
Michelle Obama showed young black womenthat they were more than the stereotypes so often assigned to them.
Moss recounts being told, “Wow, I didn’t expect that voice to come out of you. I thought it was going to be deeper, I thought you were going to be ghetto.”
Smith, who is multiracial, echoed Moss.
“She is a really strong woman,” Smith said of Michelle Obama. “I just like what she’s done with this world. I like how she’s outspoken and does what she feels is right.”
Smith and Moss are juniors at the Community School, project-based learning institution that’s part of Spokane Public Schools. While they recognize the importance of Obama’s presidency, at the end of the day, they look up to Michelle.
“For young girls, doesn’t matter what color, for young girls she pushed for them to finish school,” Moss said. “To not care about boys, to not listen to anyone who says you can’t do this because you’re a girl.”
And, Moss added, “it gave young black women the idea that they can do good things.”
Subscribe to the Morning Review newsletter
Get the day’s top headlines delivered to your inbox every morning by subscribing to our newsletter