First Lady Michelle Obama Takes Washington

Michelle Obama's Best Moments in D.C.
ESSENCE.COM Mar, 27, 2009

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Growing up on the Southside of Chicago has clearly given First Lady Michelle Obama a different perspective. Since her first day in her role as First Lady, she has made it her mission to bridge the gap between the haves and the have-nots in Washington, D.C. She is dedicated to reaching out to her neighbors in an unprecedented, hands-on and personal way.

We celebrate Mrs. Obama’s dedication to giving back to others by taking a look at her most memorable and inspiring moments in the capital thus far.

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Promoting volunteerism is extremely important to the First Lady. Here she is in February making a surprise visit to the Capital City Public Charter School, one of Washington, D.C.’s most successful public schools, with the President, where the two of them read to 8-year-olds.

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Mrs. Obama has opened up the doors to her home as a way to connect to the people who live around her. Here she is during Black History Month in the East Room of the White House, where she invited 180 schoolchildren to enjoy a performance by the famous a cappella ensemble Sweet Honey in the Rock.

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It may have been a night out for their family, but that didn’t stop both Mr. and Mrs. Obama from greeting fellow audience members when they attended Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s performance entitled “Fiftieth Anniversary Highlights” at the Kennedy Center in Washington on February 6.

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The Office of the First Lady recently announced that First Lady Michelle Obama will serve as commencement speaker at two graduations this year. Mrs. Obama will give the commencement speech to high school graduates of Washington Mathematics Science Technology Public Charter, in Washington, D.C., on June 3. She will also deliver the commencement speech to University of California-Merced, which has its first graduating class this year, on May 16. The students at Merced petitioned for Mrs. Obama by writing letters to her office, her friends and even some family members.

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Two weeks ago, Mrs. Obama reached out to students while visiting the Anacostia High School in Washington, D.C., where she talked about the value of a college education, aiming higher and working hard. Here she gives Truddie Dee Hawkins, an Anacostia student and fan of the First Lady, a big, motherly hug.

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On February 10, Mrs. Obama read “Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See” to children during a visit to Mary’s Center, a nonprofit organization in the District that offers comprehensive health care, family literacy, and a range of social services including home visitation for pregnant women, counseling and mental health services, and early intervention for children with special needs.

It’s so important for the First Lady to connect with all children, not just the ones who are doing the best but also the ones who face the most challenges.

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Known for their soul food cuisine and southern hospitality, Georgia Brown’s restaurant welcomed special dinner guests on January 30. Mrs. Obama took that opportunity to greet her fans who were waiting outside the restaurant for a glimpse of the First Lady. Mrs. Obama was there to lunch with D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty and his wife.

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Healthy living is important to Mrs. Obama. She works out every day and works with the White House kitchen staff to provide nutritious meals for her family and she wants others to learn the same. On February 22, the First Lady opened the White House kitchen to six culinary students so they could learn about preparations for a big official dinner.

“This is where the magic happens,” she told the students from the L’Academie de Cuisine in nearby Gaithersburg, Maryland, as they gathered in the main kitchen.

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In her continued effort to get to know the people of Washington, D.C., the First Lady visited the Department of the Interior where they in turn gave her a handmade shawl made by the director of Public Affairs for the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Mrs. Obama has promised to visit all of the cabinet-level agencies to thank employees for their service and to listen to their concerns.

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Just like any other mom in the neighborhood, First Lady Michelle Obama invited 25 children over to the White House to help her work on a project that will provide the raw material for many of the Obama family’s meals. The new White House Kitchen Garden taught children from the Bancroft Elementary school in D.C. the importance of growing organic fruits and vegetables and eating healthily.

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First Lady Michelle Obama is changing the way the country sees the woman who’s married to the President. Not only is she out there talking to children about their education, health, and goals, but she is setting a different standard for women who aim to do it all.

In what ways has Mrs. Obama inspired you? Tell us below.

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