Sunday, July 17, 2011

Michelle Obama!

The lovely and graceful First Lady, Michelle Obama. :)

I just love Michelle Obama! She just seems like she could be anyone's next door neighbor, and I truly believe we could be the dearest of friends.

On 22 June, I got see her speak in Soweto at Regina Mundi Church! It was such a great experience! She is quite the woman; so impressive. She's beautiful, strong, inspiring, has integrity, takes her girls everywhere, and has a fabulous sense of style (especially for a First Lady)! I also just love hearing really great speeches; ones that are inspiring, make you think, and make you want to go save the world. That's how I felt after listening to Michelle. Here are some of my favorite quotes from her speech that day. :)

Background to the first quote: And you all know the story –- how 35 years ago this month, a group of students planned a peaceful protest to express their outrage over a new law requiring them to take courses in Afrikaans.  Thousands of them took to the streets, intending to march to Orlando Stadium.
But when security forces opened fire, some fled here to this church.  The police followed, first with tear gas, and then with bullets. 
And while no one was killed within this sanctuary, hundreds lost their lives that day, including a boy named Hector Pieterson, who was just 12 years old, and Hastings Ndlovu, who was just 15.
Many of the students hadn’t even known about the protest when they arrived at school that morning.  But they agreed to take part, knowing full well the dangers involved, because they were determined to get an education worthy of their potential.
And as the Archbishop noted, that June day wasn’t the first, or the last, time that this church stood in the crosscurrents of history.  It was referred to as “the parliament of Soweto.”  When the congregation sang their hymns, activists would make plans, singing the locations and times of secret meetings.  Church services, and even funerals, often became anti-Apartheid rallies.  And as President Mandela once put it, “Regina Mundi became a world-wide symbol of the determination of our people to free themselves.”
It is a story that has unfolded across this country and across this continent, and also in my country -- the story of young people 20 years ago, 50 years ago, who marched until their feet were raw, who endured beatings and bullets and decades behind bars, who risked, and sacrificed, everything they had for the freedom they deserved.
So the question today is, what will you make of that inheritance?  What legacy will you leave for your children and your grandchildren?  What generation will you be?

And I am here because I know that true leadership -– leadership that lifts families, leadership that sustains communities and transforms nations –- that kind of leadership rarely starts in palaces or parliaments.
That kind of leadership is not limited only to those of a certain age or status.  And that kind of leadership is not just about dramatic events that change the course of history in an instant.
Instead, true leadership often happens with the smallest acts, in the most unexpected places, by the most unlikely individuals.

So make no mistake about it: There are still so many causes worth sacrificing for.  There is still so much history yet to be made. 

And in the end, that sense of interconnectedness, that depth of compassion, that determination to act in the face of impossible odds, those are the qualities of mind and heart that I hope will define your generation.
I hope that all of you will reject the false comfort that others’ suffering is not your concern, or if you can’t solve all the world’s problems, then you shouldn’t even try.
Instead, as one of our great American presidents, Teddy Roosevelt, liked to say, I hope that you will commit yourselves to doing “what you can, with what you’ve got, where you are,” because in the end, that is what makes you a lion.  Not fortune, not fame, not your pictures in history books, but the refusal to remain a bystander when others are suffering, and that commitment to serve however you can, where you are.

So you may not always have a comfortable life.  And you will not always be able to solve all the world’s problems all at once.  But don’t ever underestimate the impact you can have, because history has shown us that courage can be contagious, and hope can take on a life of its own.

Nicole Harvey and I waiting to see Michelle. I thought this picture was an appropriate one to end with because, (yes I know it sounds corny) we are those people she's talking about! :)


  1. great blog!
    and I think Michele Obama is a great speaker.. she is very inspirational

  2. thank you for sharing! love all the quotes, very inspirational, I can only imagine actually hearing her! Also loved your pictures from Soweto. I reminds me of the things I saw there, the people I met, and like you said- the simplicity and pure contentment of so many there. Helps me not to forget :) Sounds like this has been quite the amazing adventure!
    love, Katelynn


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