Being in the presence of a powerful role model

Kim Brooks
Babbling Brooks Column
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     A couple of weeks ago, I got the pleasure to attend former First Lady Michelle Obama’s book tour in St. Paul, Minn. What a thrill that was!

     Thanks to some locals who are also huge book nerds like myself (and fans of Michelle Obama, too), it was a trip of a lifetime!

     I read her book, “Becoming,” in less than no time. It was fascinating reading about her life in south side Chicago where her family of four lived in a one-bedroom duplex. She wrote about her father, who eventually suffered from MS (multiple sclerosis) yet continued to work hard to provide for his family.

     Mrs. Obama’s brother, Craig, went on to attend Princeton University thanks to a basketball scholarship. When she went to visit her brother in college, she realized there was no reason she couldn’t also attend the prestigious college. She worked hard and also later got accepted. However, Mrs. Obama said her high school counselor actually told her she was not cut out for Princeton. She showed them!    

     Mrs. Obama has been touring the country, holding her book tour talks in sports arenas. Due to the large amount of fans out there, holding a book talk in a bookstore simply would not suffice.

     The Excel Energy Center in downtown St. Paul was host to her book talk, which saw tens of thousands of people. The facility was sold out.

     Not only did Mrs. Obama talk about her life growing up in Chicago, how she let her husband (President Barack Obama), raising two daughters while campaigning for Congress and then the presidency, but she also talked about the pitfalls of being a black successful woman in today’s political arena.

     Mrs. Obama brought up the nasty critics who despised the Obama family because the color of their skin or because of her husband’s name. It’s a shame we still have people in our society who hold such prejudices against others.

     She talked about the need for this country to come together. Having read her book and now seen her book tour, I can tell you politics doesn’t come into play at all. She stays away from political bashing. Remember her motto during the most recent Democratic National Convention? “When they go low, we go high.”

     Well, she does just that in her public speaking endeavors. While other political figureheads might resort to continued bashing, Mrs. Obama just asks that we stand up for our beliefs. She simply wants a better world for her daughters, a better world for us all.

     The feeling inside the Excel Center was something I’ve never witnessed. There were people there of all ages, all backgrounds, all races, all walks of life. All of these people filled the arena to be in the presence and hear from a remarkable woman.


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