Michelle Obama speaks at Oberlin
First Lady gives students advice, counsel
By Everything Underground
First Lady Michelle Obama continues to make her rounds at various colleges and universities during graduation ceremonies with messages of encouragement and guidance. This week she was at Oberlin College in Ohio, where she was receiving an honorary degree.
During her acceptance speech, she told the students that participation and involvement in civic life was vital, and urged them to get involved rather than retreat.
"Today, I want to urge you to actively seek out the most contentious, polarized, gridlocked places you can find," Obama said in her address. "Because so often, throughout our history, those have been the places where progress really happens –- the places where minds are changed, lives transformed, where our great American story unfolds."
She noted there would be challenges in getting involved in civic duty, citing the difficulties faced by activists like Martin Luther King, Jr., President Franklin D. Roosevelt and others.
"Here at Oberlin, most of the time you’re probably surrounded by folks who share your beliefs. But out in the real world, there are plenty of people who think very differently than you do, and they hold their opinions just as passionately," Obama said.
"So if you want to change their minds, if you want to work with them to move this country forward, you can’t just shut them out. You
have to persuade them, and you have to compromise with them."
Obama also paid tribute to fallen members of the military during her speech, which was given on Memorial Day.
"I also want to take a moment on this Memorial Day to pay tribute to all of the brave men and women who have sacrificed their
lives so that we could sit here today, at peace, with rights and freedoms that others around the world can only dream of," Obama
said. "I am so proud to honor these American heroes today –- and every day –- for their extraordinary service to our nation."
Contrary to some misinformation initially dispensed by some places, she was not the commencement speaker at the event. That
honor went to Marian Wright Edelman.