The final year of the first Black president and first Black First Lady in the White House. As we take a look back over the last eight years, the Obama Administration has accomplished a lot, and shaken some things up in order to move this country forward. But we can’t forget about the accomplishments of President Obama’s right hand (no, not Joe), Michelle Obama. Michelle has willingly taken on some of the most controversial issues in American history and went head to head to fight them.
Forget that this First Lady was known by the nickname of “The Closer” during campaigning because she is skilled at persuading undecided voters to sign pledge cards – closing the deal. Forget that Michelle was named as the #1 most stylish in Style Magazine in 2013. Forget that this First Lady is the ONLY First Lady in American history to hold two Ivy League degrees. Forget that First Lady Michelle Obama is one of the few First Lady’s to show love for her husband openly without scandal.
“You know, we all knew she was brilliant and cute and strong and a great mom,” he said, “but I think the way in which she blended purpose and policy with fun so that she was able to reach beyond Washington … was masterful.”
But don’t hold your breath for her to run for president.
“If I were interested in it, I’d say it,” she tells Winfrey. “I don’t believe in playing games. It’s not something I would do, but it also speaks to the fact that people don’t really understand how (being in the White House) is.”
“I mean, the next family that comes in here, every person in that family, every child, every grandchild, their lives will be turned upside down in a way that no American really understands,” she continues. “And it’s not for us to complain about it. So you don’t hear complaints. But it is a — a truth, an actuality, that there is a weight to it.”
“My desire for this country is that we remain hopeful and that we find a place in our hearts to love each other.”
Even if you forget all of that, we’ve got 16 other amazing accomplishments that First Lady Michelle Obama has done. Take a look.
1. In 2010, she launched Let’s Move!, bringing together community leaders, educators, medical professionals, parents, and others in a nationwide effort to address the challenge of childhood obesity. Let’s Move! has an ambitious goal: to solve the epidemic of childhood obesity within a generation. Whether it’s providing healthier food in our schools, helping kids be more physically active, or urging companies to market healthier foods to our children, Let’s Move! is focused on giving parents the support they need to make healthier choices for their kids.
2. In 2010 she passed The School Lunch program with bipartisan support. The program provides free and reduced-price meals to more than 21 million low-income children, now requires districts to serve more fruit, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and low-fat dairy products.
3. Walgreens, Supervalu, Walmart and several regional grocers announced a commitment to build or expand 1,500 stores in communities with limited or no access to healthy food. This initiative will create thousands of local jobs, and will provide access to fresh food to an estimated 9.5 million people who currently have limited access. In California alone, the Fresh Works Fund has committed 200 million dollars to this effort to increase access to healthy food.
4. Darden, the world’s largest full service restaurant company, which owns Olive Garden, Red Lobster and other chains, made a commitment to improve kids’ menus by offering a fruit or vegetable and low-fat milk with every meal. Darden will also reduce total calories and sodium by 20% across their menus over the next 10 years.
5. The First Lady launched MyPlate and MiPlato, an easy to understand icon to help parents make healthier choices for their families. More than 6,100 community groups and 100 national organizations and corporations have partnered with the USDA to give families across the country access to this important nutritional information.
6. The First Lady worked with the US Tennis Association to build or refurbish more than 6,200 kid-sized tennis courts across the country, sign up more than 250,000 kids to complete their PALAs, and train 12,000 coaches to help kids learn the sport of tennis.
7. The First Lady launched Let’s Move! Child Care to ensure that our youngest children are getting a healthy start. As of January of 2013, more than 10,000 child care professionals and organizations have registered to implement new criteria for nutrition, physical activity, and limited screen time.
8. Walmart announced a new Nutrition Charter through which they lowered the cost of fruits, vegetables, and whole grain products by $1 billion in 2011. Wal-Mart has also pledged to work with manufacturers to eliminate trans fats and remove 10% of the sugar and 25% of the sodium in the food they sell by 2015.
9. Through Chefs Move to School, 2,400 chefs and nearly 4,000 schools have signed up to work together, teaching kids about healthy eating and helping cafeteria staff prepare healthier meals.
10. The country’s largest food manufacturers pledged to cut 1.5 trillion calories from the food they sell by 2015 through their Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation.
11. The American Beverage Association fulfilled their commitment to the First Lady to put clear calorie labels on the front of their products to give consumers better information.
12. Through her Let’s Move! Museums and Gardens, 597 participating institutions in all 50 states and the District of Columbia have signed up to offer active exhibits and healthy food choices.
13. In 2011, Mrs. Obama and Dr. Jill Biden came together to launch Joining Forces, a nationwide initiative calling all Americans to rally around service members, veterans, and their families and support them through wellness, education, and employment opportunities. Joining Forces works hand in hand with the public and private sector to ensure that service members, veterans, and their families have the tools they need to succeed throughout their lives.
14. In 2014, Mrs. Obama launched the Reach Higher Initiative, an effort to inspire young people across America to take charge of their future by completing their education past high school, whether at a professional training program, a community college, or a four-year college or university. Reach Higher aims to ensure that all students understand what they need to complete their education by working to expose students to college and career opportunities; helping them understand financial aid eligibility; encouraging academic planning and summer learning opportunities; and supporting high school counselors who do essential work to help students get into college.
15. In 2015, Mrs. Obama joined President Obama to launch Let Girls Learn, a U.S. government-wide initiative to help girls around the world go to school and stay in school. As part of this effort, Mrs. Obama is calling on countries across the globe to help educate and empower young women, and she is sharing the stories and struggles of these young women with young people here at home to inspire them to commit to their own education.
16. Michelle hosted a White House dinner to support mentoring programs for young girls, encouraging them to break the glass ceiling. “Once you see somebody on TV it looks like it’s easy, but the truth is we only know many of these women once they’ve become famous, once they’re in the news. Faith and love and hard work — that’s what got us through. You don’t need money or connections. The question is, do you let that fear stop you?”
Even while her husband’s approval rating by the American public has fluctuated, Michelle’s has stayed surprisingly high. In August 2011, President Barack Obama’s approval rating plummeted to 40%, but Michelle’s remained high at 70%.
Way to go Michelle! We see you!
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