The First Lady of the United States of America gave a very emotional speech at the Santa Fe Indian School’s graduation ceremony. The 2016’s promotion along with 3,000 people, relatives, and friends, had the honor of receiving Michelle Obama at the school’s auditorium.
For about 30 minutes, Ms. Obama surprised everybody with her family’s story. Everything that her ancestors had to go through to take her where she is now.
Moreover, she made a plea to the audience “do not forget your roots and keep pushing forward, your community needs you”. The first lady also warned the audience about social threats. She said there were “voices” wanting to destroy all the values American ancestors fought to establish.
“Some of your community have seeds that your ancestors have been planting and harvesting long before America was even an idea,” said Michelle Obama in the Santa Fe Indian High School commencement speech, 2016.
When Santa Fe’s 2016 promotion group was deciding who to invite to the opening ceremony as the commencement speaker, somebody suggested Mr. or Ms. Obama, and they all probably laughed. But in the end, they decided to send the invitation, and the first lady gladly accepted.
The students and graduates were as excited as their relatives and friends when Michelle Obama showed up; everyone was waiting for the commencement speech. Finally, two graduates addressed the crowd both in Navajo and English to introduce Ms. Obama to the stage.
— The First Lady (@FLOTUS) May 26, 2016
The first lady’s outline on the speech was flawless
Michelle Obama started by congratulating the 2016 promotion for their achievement. Then, the crowd went completely silent as she described how her great-grandparents were slaves, her grandparents served to a master, and her parents had to live the hardships of racial discrimination. It was a sad story, but she didn’t mean to inspire pity as she proudly said she learned important values from all of them, such as discipline, kindness, and perseverance.
“Some of the loudest voices in our national conversation are saying things that go against every single one of the values that you’ve been living at this school,” said the first lady.
Her background story served as preparation for a petition directly from the White House. According to Ms. Obama, people want to destroy everything both African American and Native American ancestors, among others, achieved against inequality and discrimination. She said there were people encouraging selfishness and segregation, and that young people had to prepare to counter such ideas.
Racism is an ugly concept, and societies are desperate to put everything under the rug. Nowadays, Barack Obama is the synonym of the United States’ president. But that makes easy to forget that when he decided to run for president, everybody went nuts. A similar thing happens with the Santa Fe Indian School. This institution was meant to eradicate Native American customs by forbidding its practice in any form. In fact, the school’s name hints it with the word ‘Indian.’
People going rogue
However, people refused to follow such parameters, and the school was eventually shut. Years later, local the local communities organized and re-opened this school for all the children in New Mexico. With famous alumni such as Leroy Petry and George Gonzalez, the school boasts a graduating rate of 90% with 95% of graduates pursuing higher education. Many of them end up in renowned schools, such as Harvard and Yale.
She does not say a name but is tough not to think of Donald Trump and his wall. The first lady is making echo of millions of voices around the country that disagree with the radical proposals Mr. Trump, and others are bringing to the table. It would be unfair to put all the blame on only one candidate when this electoral process has been labeled as the most extremist in decades.
This visit is the second of its kind as Michelle Obama first spoke at the Jackson State University in Mississippi, and according to organizers, The City College of New York is her next destination. You can watch the full speech here.