Michelle Obama recently launched her new “Get Her There” Campaign in N.Y.C and Muslim Girl had the great honor of attending the event.
The campaign will work to advance gender equality, aiming to improve girls’ access to education all over the world and end child marriage. It is a collaboration between three organizations: The Obama Foundation’s Girls Opportunity Alliance, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and The Clooney Foundation for Justice.
Since her time as the First Lady of the United States and beyond, Michelle Obama has served as an inspiration to millions of people, especially women and girls. And now more than ever, she is passionate about creating better access to education for young women.
In fact, Michelle Obama, Amal Clooney, and Melinda French Gates specifically acknowledged that over 100,000 million girls do not have access to the education they deserve – a problem they are determined to change through the recently launched campaign. In a profound statement, the former First Lady said, “these girls come from communities that do not see their light.”
She aims to encourage these young girls and open herself up to them, telling the audience at the event: “They look at people like us in these positions and think, well we must have been born into that place; which is why when I meet with young girls I don’t want them to know Michelle Obama, former First Lady – I want them to know Michelle Obama, the girl from the South Side of Chicago.”
So, many girls and women struggle with self-doubt. The girl from the South Side of Chicago tells us how she navigates that, saying, “Society intentionally does that to women and girls. It starts at a very early age. We question our value, our worth. We question how we look, how we talk, and where we are from. There are people in power who want us to stay doubtful. Our cultures reinforce that.”
Michelle adds, “But I want young girls to understand those feelings are real, they are not crazy, they are indoctrinated in us all. And we carry them around with us our entire lives—messages of not being enough. But what protects me from those voices is the life that I lived and I have recaptured my own story. In order to break these cycles of negativity, you gotta get up every day and do the work right before you.”
She beautifully explained, “Power is not always the power you see on this stage. It’s not money, platform, or positions. The power that makes real change is the power of small.”
Michelle Obama concluded the event with a direct call to action, talking to a room full of supporters and donors she said, “We are not here because we’ll fix it, and you guys can just go on your way. We are living through that kind of apathy, complacency, and lack of engagement. If we don’t get it right, it will come back to bite us. It will be our daughters, our nieces, the girls that we think are beyond this—at some level we will feel the impact of our lack of investment in this issue.”