First Lady€s Forum

WI Staff | 3/26/2009, 9:50 a.m.

First Lady Michelle Obama visits Anacostia High School Remarks from Mrs. Obama on Wed. March 19

€This month is National Women's History Month, and we've been doing a lot of really interesting things out of the White House. But one of the things that I always wanted to do, when I envisioned being the First Lady, is that I wanted to make sure that we spent a whole lot of time outside in the D.C. community -- because I grew up on the South Side of Chicago, and I went to public schools, and my parents were working-class folks. We didn't have a ton of money.

And I lived right near the University of Chicago, which was one of the finest universities in the country. But I've never had a relationship with the University of Chicago. I never set foot on it. I didn't get to attend any classes. I didn't walk on campus. And I think the assumption was, is that that place was different. It was a college, and it was a fancy college, and it didn't have anything to do with me. And I didn't think they wanted to have anything to do with me. So we never connected - me and many kids like me in our community, and that big old institution.
Well, I sort of thought, well, if that was the case then, then maybe there are a lot of kids who feel that way about the White House, especially in D.C. You know, you're living 10 minutes away from the power of this nation and the world - the White House, the Capitol, all those buildings. I know when I would come to visit, I would wonder what's going on in there.
And I wanted to be a part of opening the doors and taking off the veil and saying, this is what's going on there. And one of the best ways - or most fun ways for me to do that is to come and see you all, and do as much as I can, and eventually have you guys come see me in the White House - one of these days, soon.

So for Women's History Month, this today we've got some amazing women from around the country who have come here, and they're going to schools all across the area: Alicia Keys is here; Debbie Allen; Lisa Leslie; Dominique Dawes, the Olympic Gold medalist; Debra Lee; Phylicia Rashad; Sheryl Crow, a musician; I could go on and on. But all these women, when we called and said, "Would you come to D.C. and spend time in schools?" they said yes. And they flew here on their own, and they're spending time like I am with you all in schools all across this area.

So that's what we're doing today, and I've been looking forward to this, and I can tell you the President is upset because he's in California and I reminded him that today I was doing this. He was like, I want to do what you're doing. But I have the more fun job than he does.€