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In Emotional Valediction, First Lady Praises America’s ‘Glorious’ Diversity

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In Emotional Valediction, First Lady Praises America’s ‘Glorious’ Diversity

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First Lady Michelle Obama delivered farewell address praising diversity

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – First lady Michelle Obama made an impassioned case for embracing diversity and welcoming all religious groups on Friday in a not-so-veiled message to her husband’s successor two weeks ahead of Inauguration Day.

In what was billed as her last formal speech before President Barack Obama leaves office, the first lady said at an event honoring high school counselors that the United States belonged to people from all backgrounds and walks of life.

“Our glorious diversity – our diversities of faiths and colors and creeds – that is not a threat to who we are, it makes us who we are,” she said.

The remarks were reminiscent of her vigorous campaign speeches in favor of Democrat Hillary Clinton during the 2016 election. President-elect Donald Trump has proposed building a wall along the border of Mexico and temporarily banning Muslims from entering the country.

“If you or your parents are immigrants, know that you are part of a proud American tradition: the infusion of new cultures, talents and ideas, generation after generation, that has made us the greatest country on earth,” Mrs. Obama said.

“If you are a person of faith, know that religious diversity is a great American tradition, too … And whether you are Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Sikh – these religions are teaching our young people about justice and compassion and honesty.”

Mrs. Obama gave a series of high profile speeches at campaign events for Clinton last year and made clear her disapproval of Trump for questioning President Obama’s citizenship and for the New York businessman’s treatment of women after a recording was released in which he bragged about groping women.

Trump was a leader of the so-called birther movement that questioned whether President Obama, who was born in Hawaii, had been born in the United States.

Mrs. Obama has kept a lower public profile since the election.

Choking up on Friday, she said being first lady had been the greatest honor of her life.

“So that’s my final message to young people as first lady. It is simple. I want our young people to know that they matter, that they belong,” she said. “Lead by example with hope, never fear. And know that I will be with you, rooting for you and working to support you for the rest of my life.”

(Reporting by Jeff Mason, editing by G Crosse)

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8 Comments

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      1. dpaano January 9, 2017

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  2. stsintl January 8, 2017

    There are two visions of America.

    One is Donald Trump’s “White Melting Pot of Europeans with pepper corns and bone chips at the bottom, and a cement lid on the top”. That’s why he finds more in common with Putin’s Russia.

    The other is that of a beautiful “Tapestry of Cultures”, a blend of colorful fibers and threads of ethnic and cultural diversity. Each unique group contributes its own rich color and texture to create a strong and beautiful whole. The threads are bound together for strength, but they do not lose their own fine qualities in the process. In the America of today, people with origins in Europe, Africa, Asia, South America, and elsewhere have come together to create an enduring and a colorful tapestry.

    Protected by a Constitution guaranteeing separation of church and state, along with certain individual rights, this Tapestry is well guarded against damage from excesses of our own government. As Americans of different color, ethnicity and national origin embrace each other and interact more closely, a stronger and more tightly knit Tapestry with a richer texture would emerge. It would be harder to destroy it than the one with thread and fibers loosely woven together.

    Reply
    1. Nativegrammy January 8, 2017

      Beautifully said!

      Reply
      1. stsintl January 8, 2017

        Thanks.

        Reply
      2. dpaano January 9, 2017

        Unfortunately, the Republicans don’t quite feel the same way!

        Reply
  3. dpaano January 9, 2017

    What an awesome First Lady that she has been! She definitely went high when the other group went low! She’s a First Lady to be proud of and I’m sure she’ll be well remembered in the years to come!

    Reply

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