So proud to present my friend Lin-Manuel Miranda with the Portrait of a Nation Prize at the National Portrait Gallery. I first met Lin more than a decade ago, when he came to the White House to perform the opening number from what he described as a “concept album.” And, as we all know, his little concept, Hamilton, became a global phenomenon. But what I love most is that he believes it’s his duty to lift up those around him, especially the next generation. It’s why he’s created a Hamilton curriculum for schools, made sure kids from all over can see his shows, and raised millions of dollars for Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. And it’s why he is working so hard to make sure folks are voting in every election and using that freedom that so many fought so hard for. He’s someone who has, in melody and rhyme and connection, painted as honest a portrait of our country as I’ve ever seen. Love this guy.
Stylist @Meredith Koop
Hair @Yene Damtew | Salon Biz Mentor
Makeup @CARL RAY@Smithsonian@National Portrait Gallery
At the @ObamaFoundation Summit, I had the chance to sit down with inspiring women and men from the @girlsopportunityalliance community. Hard work like this takes courage. It takes leadership. And these leaders are making strides in global girls’ education by breaking through the barriers that keep adolescent girls out of school. I am so proud of what they’re accomplishing despite the challenges they face. We’re all better off because of it.
Whenever I'm looking for a source of strength and courage, I think about our veterans and their families—they inspire me every day. On #VeteransDay, let's make sure we all give a little something back to those who have given so much to our nation.
With less than a year to the 2020 elections, it's time to start thinking about your #VotingSquad. I’ve got mine: Shonda. Liza. Selena. Tom. Lin-Manuel. Tracee. Faith. Kerry. Chris. Janelle. Megan. Rita. Join us at whenweallvote.org and learn how you can get involved. @When We All Vote
Yesterday at the #ObamaSummit, I was thrilled to spend time with leaders from the @girlsopportunityalliance community. From Ethiopia to Guatemala to Vietnam, these women and men face different challenges, but they share the same dream: a world where every girl has the chance to pursue her education and fulfill her potential. That’s why they’re working so hard to break boundaries, start new conversations in their communities, and provide crucial support and resources to adolescent girls. I know that it’s difficult, sometimes isolating work, but these remarkable leaders are showing up each day, hoping to make a difference for girls who deserve so much. And after our time together yesterday, I can tell that they’re doing just that. I’m so proud of each of them.
Craig knew me as Miche long before the world knew me as Michelle Obama. Today at the #ObamaSummit alongside journalist Isabel Wilkerson, we shared our memories of Chicago, the place that made us who we are. Another special memory to share with my brother in our hometown. @Obama Foundation
Throughout my years in the White House, I spent a lot of time with our nation’s military caregivers. They’re the people—spouses, parents, siblings, children, and many others—who give so much to care for loved ones who’ve been wounded in service to our country. I can’t tell you how powerful their stories are—these women and men fundamentally changed me. They changed the way I see service and the way I see this country. They’re folks who upend their lives, putting careers on hold and moving across the country. They’re taking on the responsibilities of entire households while learning to care for physical and emotional needs in a new way. They’re simply incredible, and over these past few years, my hope was to help give a little something back to those who’ve given our country so much. That’s why I’m so thankful for the work that the @Elizabeth Dole Foundation does every day to celebrate and support our nation’s caregivers—and it’s why I hope you’ll find a way to do the same in your community.
Happy International #DayoftheGirl, everyone!
A year ago today, the @ObamaFoundation launched the @GirlsOpportunityAlliance to empower adolescent girls through education.
Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to meet so many inspiring girls from all around the world. I’ve seen the promise unique to each one of them—and the resolve they have inside to get their education. They’re the stories and the smiling faces that have inspired me to keep lifting up these young women so they can fulfill their boundless potential.
Today, on the Day of the Girl, I'm thrilled to share the news that in December, I'll be traveling to Asia to meet with some of these girls and the organizations that support them. I’ll be going to Vietnam, where the Girls Opportunity Alliance is collaborating with @RoomtoRead to shine a light on important efforts to empower girls. I can’t wait to share the incredible stories I find there with you, and in the meantime, I hope you’ll take a moment to check out this one from the @rockpaperscissorschildrensfund, which provides bikes to girls to help them get to school quickly and safely.
On the Day of the Girl and every day, I hope that all of you will find a way to support adolescent girls around the world. You don’t have to fly to Vietnam—you can host a bake sale, organize a project with your friends, get your office involved, and so much more. Hit the link in my bio to check out the projects through the Girls Opportunity Alliance Fund and let me know how you’re taking action. @Girls Opportunity Alliance
Leading up to tomorrow’s #DayOfTheGirl, I've been thinking about how, from a young age, girls are often shushed when they speak up, or they’re set aside, as if in a delicate box so they don’t break. These patterns, which begin in our earliest years, don’t just affect us as girls—they shape who we become as women. I thought about this last week, when I spoke with these incredible young ladies in Dallas, who told me about the obstacles they’ve overcome. For them and so many others, it can be difficult to open up and share your story if you’re not confident that people will accept you for who you are. Their stories moved me to keep finding new ways to make sure that every girl and young woman has the support—and the confidence—to recognize that her story matters. So I wanted to ask you today: Who in your life showed you that you were valued when you were younger? And how do you show the girls in your life today that they’re valued?
With the International #DayoftheGirl coming up on Friday, I want to share a terrific example of the kinds of stories that are possible when we recognize the boundless promise inside every girl—and invest in it.
This is Diana, who is from a small village in Malawi. Growing up, Diana would wake up every morning before sunrise and walk for two hours to get to school on time. Her hard work paid off when a scholarship to secondary school from @AGEAfrica changed her life—and then Diana went on to become the first person from her family and her village to attend university.
AGE Africa supports girls like Diana every single day, and it’s one of the incredible organizations that we’re spotlighting through the @GirlsOpportunityAlliance. I hope you’ll visit the link in my bio to learn more about these projects and support them however you can.
27 years ago, this guy promised me a life full of adventure. I’d say he’s delivered. Here’s to our next chapter of becoming empty nesters and discovering what’s next—while still feeling the magic that brought us together all those years ago. Happy anniversary, Barack. 💕 @Barack Obama
When I think back to my childhood, I remember moments like this with my brother Craig. We grew up on the South Side of Chicago, in a diverse and changing neighborhood, hanging out with friends from all backgrounds. Today, I’ve got my old neighborhood on my mind as the @ObamaFoundation announces its third #ObamaSummit, which will take place not far from where this picture was taken.
At the summit, we’ll welcome authors and artists, luminaries, and leaders to the South Side for a special conversation about how places like these reveal our purpose and make us into the people we’ve become. @BarackObama and I will share our own stories too—about how Chicago shaped our journey and how we hope the Obama Presidential Center will shape the journeys of others.
You can join in by visiting obama.org, submitting a photo of a place that shaped you, and letting us know how that place gives you purpose. Can’t wait to hear your stories. @Obama Foundation@Craig Robinson
I want you all to meet David Ledbetter. You might have heard about him before—he’s the 17-year-old from Charlotte, North Carolina, who made news when he registered voters while waiting in line for a chicken sandwich at Popeyes. On #NationalVoterRegistrationDay, I hope you’ll get creative to help folks make sure they can make their voices heard. Join me and @WhenWeAllVote by pledging to register three friends to vote at the link in my bio. @When We All Vote
These two folks are LaVaughn Robinson and Fraser Robinson, Jr.—better known to me as Grandma and Dandy, my grandparents on my father’s side. For years, Grandma managed a thriving Bible bookstore on the South Side of Chicago. She was perhaps my first example of a professional woman, showing me that being graceful and being in command weren’t mutually exclusive. Dandy, meanwhile, had moved to Chicago from South Carolina as a young man in pursuit of better opportunities. Brilliant and a hard worker, his hopes were mostly dashed by the discrimination he faced as a black man. His skin color closed most doors to him—landing a good job or even joining a union. Still, he pieced together odd jobs until finally, years later ended up working with the postal service, a job he held for thirty years.
Dandy and Grandma raised a beautiful family of five children, and to this day, their stories are woven together with my own; their sacrifices and successes are braided into everything I’ve become. On #GrandparentsDay, I hope you’ll all send a little love your grandparents’ way. Give them a call if you can—or simply hold them in your heart, grateful for all that they’ve given you.
It’s after Labor Day, so I’m thinking about all the young people heading back to school and reflecting on my own days as a student in Chicago. I learned a lot in school—how to do my multiplication tables and structure a paragraph, yes, but also how to push myself, be a good friend, and dust myself off after a failure.
It’s so easy for us to take our education for granted, especially here in the United States. Right now, more than 98 million adolescent girls around the world are not in school. I believe every girl on the planet deserves the same kind of opportunities that I’ve had—a chance to fulfill her potential and pursue her dreams. We know that when we give girls a chance to learn, they’ll seize it. And when they do, our whole world benefits. Girls who go to school have healthier children, higher salaries, lower poverty rates, and they can even help boost their entire nation’s economy.
So today on #WorldCharityDay, I want you to share your favorite #BackToSchool photo and
to join the @Girls Opportunity Alliance to take action for global girls’ education. Visit the link in my bio to learn more—because the future of our world is only as bright as our girls.
I first heard about Kim Ha when she shared her story for my @BetterMakeRoom campaign in 2016. She’s a Houston native and her parents immigrated to our country from Vietnam and Mexico. Growing up, her parents worked hard but sometimes struggled to make ends meet, experiencing periods of unemployment between jobs in the oil industry, working at gas stations, and picking produce in the agricultural fields. Some days, Kim said, her only meal of the day came from the school cafeteria.
But she kept her eyes on getting her college degree—even when she wasn’t sure she could afford it, even when she wasn’t sure she’d get accepted, even when she’d made it to campus but still worried that she might not graduate. She persevered, and while she was at college—she found her passion: Reaching back and lifting up others who come from backgrounds like hers.
Today, Kim is a first-generation college graduate from Texas A&M University. She plans to attend law school and become an immigration lawyer, so she can help those who feel marginalized or left behind. Her advice to others in her shoes: “If I could tell any student who’s wondering if they are worthy of going to college, please know that you are. You are able, you are strong, and you can do it. This is our country and this is our future in the making.” For me, Kim is proof that our diversity is our strength—and that no matter what challenges we might face, our brightest days are ahead of us because the future belongs to young people like her. #BetterMakeRoom@Reach Higher@Better Make Room 🎓
Over the years I’ve recognized something important: Whether it was going to the gym at the crack of dawn or finding an extra moment to unwind in my favorite chair, in order for me to be at my best for others around me, I needed to find some time for myself. That’s easier said than done, and it can feel impossible when our kids, jobs, and lives rely on us for so much. But it couldn’t be more important for our well-being. Over the past month, I’ve heard from you all about the steps you’re taking to prioritize yourselves—daily morning runs, joining book clubs, setting boundaries on difficult relationships, picking up new hobbies when the kids leave home, and so much more. It’s wonderful stuff, truly—and in seeing your comments, I saw how powerful it is to have a community that supports us in our health. So before the end of summer, I want you to find a friend to join you in some of these personal wellness moments—post a picture and tag me so I can see it, too! Because getting some time for ourselves doesn’t necessarily mean that we have to be alone! #WellnessWednesday
In 2009, I planted the kitchen garden on the South Lawn of the White House. And as those seedlings started to sprout, so did a national conversation about the way we feed our children, the impact of healthy food on underserved communities, and the beautiful things that happen when young people come together in a garden.
So I couldn’t be more proud of Ciara Byrne, one of our 2019 #ObamaFellows, who’s growing gardens like these across the desert to not only help kids learn science and math, but also understand the importance of taking care of our planet. Keep up the good work, @Green Our Planet! @ATTN:@Obama Foundation
Watching #AmericanFactory, I thought a lot about my dad. That blustery Midwestern weather, the shift workers in their uniforms—it’s what he lived every day. His work was his pride and his sense of purpose; it’s what allowed him to pay the bills and send his two kids to college. I saw a lot of that dignity in this film; a spirit that connects us no matter if we’re in Chicago or Ohio, no matter what we look like or what our background is.
This documentary portrays that pride, and adds in all sorts of depth and layers and complications, which makes it exactly the kind of storytelling Barack and I hope to accomplish with Higher Ground Productions. We want to help foster an ability to see ourselves in each other’s stories. That’s something we talked about with Julia Reichert and Steven Bognar, who directed American Factory, over coffee. See for yourself at the link in the bio and then check out their excellent documentary, which is now streaming on @Netflix. @Barack Obama@Netflix US@Netflix Film
#InternationalYouthDay has me thinking about how, whenever I traveled abroad during my time as First Lady, I always tried to spend time with young people. I wanted to break outside of the conference halls and grand palaces and see how people really lived. So I visited girls in their classrooms in Cambodia and Liberia. I played table tennis with young people in China and danced with children in Mexico. The energy, the courage, the determination of these young women and young men — it never failed to inspire me. These are the young people who helped spur my work with the @GirlsOpportunityAlliance, where we’re doing our part to make sure every young woman on this planet has the chance to go to school and pursue her dreams. So today on #InternationalYouthDay, I hope you’ll join us to support these girls every single day. Check out the link in my bio to learn more.
It feels like we could all use an uplifting story right about now. So let me tell you about an incredible young man I met a few years ago, Oscar McClain. What I love about Oscar’s story is that no matter how many ups and downs he’s been through, he’s always remained resilient on his journey of becoming.
Just before he started high school, Oscar lost his grandfather. But he decided to turn his grief into determination, pouring his energy into his studies. Four years later, he was salutatorian of his high school class and joined me at the White House for my #BeatingTheOdds Summit. He went on to Southern University and A&M College in Baton Rouge, where he knew he’d have to be just as purposeful to reach a new set of goals. So he reached out to his professors and found a network of peers who kept him steady. But even so, last summer was hard. He faced another loss—this time, his father. It’s the kind of loss you carry with every step, every breath. Trust me, I know. But here’s how Oscar paid tribute to his father: He doubled down on everything he’d learned from him, and lived with dignity and purpose that would make his father proud. This May, he graduated college with a degree in Chemistry and a 3.7 GPA. Because as he told me this summer, “Overcoming obstacles is what causes success to be worth achieving.” I’m so proud of you, Oscar! #BetterMakeRoom
This afternoon, I was thrilled to visit with @CocoGauff. When we talk about the potential of our young people, we often think about it as some far-off promise, years or decades away. But the truth is they have so much to offer us right now—something we all saw a few weeks ago at Wimbledon. Coco is a wonderful young woman who’s showing us that we don’t have to wait to see what the next generation can do. @Coco Gauff
As part of #NationalGirlfriendsDay, let's give a shoutout to the friends who always have our backs! My girlfriends aren’t just people I like to hang out with—though we do plenty of that—they’re a vital part of who I am and who I’ll keep becoming. What are some ways your girlfriends have supported you? Tag them in the comments below.
Whenever I see this picture, and the look in my mother’s eyes, I wonder if she has any idea what’s coming in the decades ahead: Real love and real loss, children and grandchildren who’d keep her on her toes, a wild ride to places she’d only read about or seen on television. But I also see something else in those eyes, something that guided me every day from the moment I was born—her unflappable belief that whatever came her way, she’d manage it. And because she’d manage, we all would, too. Happy birthday, Mom. I love you!
I am so proud of everyone I met today at the #BeatingTheOdds Summit with @reachhigher2020. To anyone out there who feels like the world is stacked against them, know that I'm rooting for you to succeed and reach your full potential.
Today I’m headed to @Howard1867 for our 5th annual #BeatingTheOdds Summit, where I’ll be reunited with some of the students I’ve met over the years. One of these is a resilient young woman named Rachel McKenzie Scott—and her story, like so many of those we’ll be celebrating today—couldn’t be more inspiring.
For much of her life, Rachel felt like the world was working against her. She lost her mother when she was 12 and not long after, her father left their family. She and her siblings became wards of the state of Washington and her two younger siblings entered foster care. She’d go to bed at night wondering where her next meal would come from, and she’d wake up in the morning worried that she wouldn’t have clean clothes for school. Every day, she worried about her family’s safety, and she often thought about dropping out and giving up.
But Rachel bet on herself. She asked for help and leaned on her mentor, Melissa Repp, to get through high school and college. At the University of Washington, she found professors she could open up to, friends she could relate to, and a trusty support dog, Blu, who was always there when she needed her.
Today, she’s a graduate from the University of Washington, about to fulfill her lifelong dream of becoming an oceanographer. But that’s only part of the story—I’ll let Rachel tell you the rest. Check out my Instagram Story today as she takes it over and gives you a behind-the-scenes-look at today’s Summit. @Reach Higher@Better Make Room 🎓
This is Darius Wesley, who I first met at a #BeatingTheOdds Summit back in 2014. Back then, he’d just graduated from North Lawndale College Prep in my hometown of Chicago. Growing up on the west side of the city, Darius lost friends and family members to violence and drugs. In high school, he was forced to uproot his life when his mother faced a series of health issues. At times, Darius told me, he just wanted to give up. But he didn’t. He couldn’t. It’s not who he is. Five years later, he’s channeled the lessons he learned while overcoming those obstacles into a marketing degree at Cleveland State University—becoming the first person in his family to graduate from college. I could not be prouder of this young man. Looking back, Darius said, "I appreciate those challenges-–they caused me to reach back and remember the support system that I have in the back of my pocket. All of the teachers and coaches that believe in me as a player, as a student, as a person. My mother, sisters, and brothers are all looking for me to just do better." Next Tuesday, Darius will once again join me in DC for our 5th anniversary #BeatingTheOdds Summit with @ReachHigher2020—one of the most inspiring days of the year. And in the meantime, I want to hear from all of you: Who's a young person in your life who is #BeatingTheOdds? Share their stories with me in the comments below. #ReachHigher@Reach Higher@Better Make Room 🎓
Wishing a wonderful birthday to @Malala! When I first met Malala a few years back, I was blown away by her eloquence and her conviction to stand up for girls just like her in every corner of the globe. That conversation helped inspire me to focus more deeply on girls’ education around the world. Right now, there are tens of millions of girls who are not in school—girls who are bright, hardworking, and hungry to learn. To celebrate #MalalaDay, join me and @GirlsOpportunityAlliance in our work to empower girls in countries like South Africa, Ethiopia, and Tanzania. I hope you'll head over to the link in my bio to learn more and get involved.
At the Women’s World Cup, we saw how sports can focus, inspire, and elevate us all. Thuba Sibanda is an @ObamaFoundation leader who’s using sports to empower girls in Namibia every single day. You can support leaders like Thuba through the @GirlsOpportunityAlliance, and I hope you do. Check out the link in my bio to learn more and get involved.
I was lucky enough to share a few moments with Cameron Boyce—on set, at the White House, and on a service project—enough time to recognize that not only did he have incredible talent, but also an incredible heart. Sending out a lot of love and hugs to his family, friends, and his many, many fans. @Cameron Boyce
One thing I keep hearing from women across the country is how hard it is for us to put ourselves first. We're the first to care for our friends, families, coworkers, but we are last on our own list. The good news is we can make a change. I’ve seen it in my own life. And that starts with all of us as women searching within ourselves and our stories—and sharing what we’ve learned with one another. So I want to hear from you! What do you do to make yourself more of a priority?
What a great night here in New Orleans celebrating 25 years of#EssenceFest and #BlackGirlMagic. Thanks to @GayleKing for sitting down with me to talk about all things #IAmBecoming, relationships and just how hard it is as women to put ourselves first. @Gayle King
I love this photo of my father because it shows so much of his presence—his strength, his poise, and yes, his style. My dad was pretty cool. He was proud and warm with a smooth baritone voice and ready laugh. He was also quite punctual, as you can see from his wristwatch suntan. But I also love this photo because its imperfections capture a lot about what it’s like for me to think about him today. This snapshot is a reminder that all memories are somewhat incomplete, a photographic representation that my time with him was cut short. And that’s ok—that’s life. And that’s why, today and every day, I’m grateful for all of it: for every imperfect photograph, for every incomplete memory, and for the many wonderful, beautiful years I had to learn and love — and be loved by — my father. Happy Father’s Day, Dad. I miss you and I’ll love you forever.
On Anne Frank's 90th birthday, I keep reflecting on this quote from her. I first read the Diary of Anne Frank as a young woman, and while in Amsterdam this past April on my #IAmBecoming tour, I was deeply moved by my visit to the Anne Frank House, where she and her family lived in hiding for more than two years. There, I saw this quote on the wall—it reflects the timelessness of her truth, the courage of a young woman who saw the power in her own voice, even when she was confronted with unimaginable horror and difficulty. What inspires me is her instinct not just to use her voice on its own, but to use it to connect with those around her—to work for something larger than herself. I hope that her example inspires all of us to speak up just a little louder, a little more bravely in our own lives today. And if we all do that, then together, we can shine a little more light on what we share—the common humanity that unites us all. #Anne90@Anne Frank House
This resilient and hardworking young lady is Anta Nije. I first met Anta back in 2015 when I spoke at King College Prep’s graduation on the South Side of Chicago. Three years later, I caught up with Anta in Atlanta while talking to a group of college students during my #IAmBecoming book tour. A first-generation college student, she graduated just last month from @Spelman_College where she studied political science and journalism. While at Spelman, she hosted a podcast, mentored first-year students at Morehouse, joined Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, and became Miss HBCU. Now with her degree in hand, she’s taking her next step by interning at a fashion company in Paris and with a dream of one day building her own fashion brand.
I’m so proud of the person that Anta has become. She’s a terrific example of the many bright young people in our country working hard to lift up themselves and their families through education.
Now, I want to hear from you. Let’s give some love to all of the inspiring #Classof2019 graduates out there -- shout them out by tagging them in the comments below! #ReachHigher@Spelman College@Reach Higher@Better Make Room 🎓
Chicago is the city that taught me what it means to give back. I was a few years into my career when I decided to leave my law firm, diving into city government and nonprofit work. Over the years, I ended up visiting parts of the city I hadn’t been to before, spending time with elderly residents, supporting promising young leaders, and working to bridge the divide between a hospital and the community it served. It was all so inspiring and motivating—some of the work I’m most proud of to this day—and it gave me skills and lessons that I’m still applying every day.
That’s why I was so thrilled to hear about this week's first-ever Civic Action Awards, where the @ObamaFoundation and @ChiPubSchools honored those who’ve made a powerful impact inside and outside of school. Congratulations to all the winners—and it’s great to see so many of you getting an earlier start than me!
I could not be more honored to help celebrate 50 years of @SesameStreet tonight. It’s a program that’s been a part of my life as a child, as a mother, as First Lady—and thankfully, still today.
I’ll never forget the first time my daughters came to Sesame Street with me back in 2010. As Malia, Sasha, and I walked onto that street with the brownstone, the grocery store, and the famous trash can, we were totally overwhelmed, in awe, our faces filled with wonder, and our spirits soaring. But it wasn’t just us—my staff was mesmerized. Even the Secret Service agents had big goofy grins on.
There is something unexplainable that happens there, some unique alchemy that bubbles up that you just can’t find anywhere else. There’s nothing in the world that so beautifully marries boundless aspiration with simple goodness, nothing that strips away the daily madness and distraction, nothing that is so pure and hopeful—and absolutely essential to our future.
Congrats on 50 great years—here’s to 50 more. I hope you’ll join me in celebrating by sharing a favorite memory or lesson learned using #Sesame50.@Sesame Street
People don’t get to where they are if they go at it alone.
Last week, I met the new class of #ObamaFellows—20 leaders from around the world who are doing the type of work that will create a better future for all of us. We talked about what keeps us going and how important it is to have help along the way.
With support from the @ObamaFoundation—and each other—our hope is that these Fellows will continue to grow and expand their work, changing the world for generations to come.
Sunday night in Nashville, I walked off stage for the final time on my #IAmBecoming tour. After 34 stops, from Chicago to Copenhagen and Vancouver to Atlanta, I couldn’t be more humbled—or more hopeful. I started this journey knowing that in order for you all to know who I was, you had to know my whole story—the broken parts, the struggles, and the imperfections. It wasn’t always easy to share those moments, but I know that it’s only because of them that I was able to become something more.
So thank you all—all the young people I met along the way, all the folks sitting in the balconies, all the book clubs who generated real discussions—for recognizing that truth in your own lives, and for sharing it not just with me but with the world. If each of us can do more of that, if we can be a little more vulnerable, a little more honest with ourselves and with each other, then maybe we can pay that lesson forward to someone else. Maybe we’ll be able to offer each other a little more grace. And maybe then, we can more fully embrace the ways we are the same. To me, that’s how we can all keep becoming, together. @Stephen Colbert