Dear Mr & Mrs Obama,
Wow, where do I start. Maybe I ought to start with two simple words: Thank you! In the space of 8 years you have done so much – improved healthcare, advocated for women’s rights and transformed your economy. If I had infinite time and space I would continue to praise all your accomplishments but I think that would be pretty pointless – especially as you’re the ones who have accomplished it. So I guess, in a nutshell, I’ll try to summarise what you have taught me in your 8 years of office.
I remember in 2008 when I saw a light, hope and ambition. I saw a promise and sense of commitment that I hadn’t received from any other candidate or previous president. You were different. Not just by the colour of your skin but the way in which articulated and presented yourself. Your authenticity and humility enabled an ‘non-American’ like me to relate to a man like you. Consequently, I rooted you for, we rooted for you and you won! That was a proud day, one filled with happiness, tears and joy. Change was coming and fast! You showed the American people that politics is a lot bigger than middle class white men debating in their suits.You showed them and me that politics is about the people and the people are the politics. What’s a force when there is no drive? Definitely not a force!
Throughout your role you have been scrutinised and challenged but you have successfully embraced this and continued to persevere. Besides, what is a democracy without checks and balances? You have taught me that you will face many hurdles in life. Whether it is trying to negotiate a nuclear deal with Iran or getting out of bed in the morning, what matters is not the challenge, but how you overcome it! It is easier to walk away, to give up and let things engulf you but what do you gain? Nothing. There is no such thing as an ‘easy pass’ in life, most things require determination, persistence and belief. Using all three won’t lessen the load but it will make it lighter to carry.
Such perseverance has inspired me to achieve things I would have never dreamed of. Why? I kept going. People didn’t believe in me but I believed in myself and guess what… that was more than enough! With my faith and a lot of support I managed to take a path that was never planned. As a result, I’m going to achieve things that I never thought I could achieve.
Although, I have been writing with both of you in mind, I want to dedicate this paragraph to Mrs Michelle Obama. I have 101 million things to say but can’t express. If I was ever fortunate to meet you, I would consider myself blessed. You have revived the role of ‘First Lady.’ With exception to Eleanor Roosevelt, I can definitely say that you have been one of the greatest First Ladies in History. You are a clear example of being the change you want to see. Why? When Barack was elected, the role of being FLOTUS was thruster upon you. It was really easy for you to watch his career prosper and timidly look pretty for the cameras, but you didn’t. You have reiterated that the POTUS and FLOTUS are two different people with different methods, personalities and aspirations. From your visits to schools in my city, London to the #BringBackOurGirls campaign you have done so much to enable YOUR name (not your husbands) carries a legacy. Thank you for teaching me that being a girl is my weakness but my strength. You have empowered me with the tools to embrace sisterhood and achieve whatever I want (without any constraints).
Finally, let discuss what some may class as the elephant in room… Race! I have no shame being a black woman. I have no shame being black. However, I can’t pretend that we live in a fantasy where discrimination doesn’t exist. For the first time, I saw a black family in a high political position of power. You were the first black US president and hopefully this will set a long lasting legacy for many black leaders to come. If anything, you have given me a glimpse of “what may come and what may be”. I have always been afraid of being the only black person (or part of the few) entering a typically ‘white’ field or industry however if I don’t, if we don’t try to break the mould and create change then things will continue to remain the same and nothing will change.Thank you for giving me the courage to stand for what is right, make a change and be the change you wish to see!
You have taught so much in these 8 years, and I hate seeing you go but:
All good things must come to and end in order to create beautiful new beginnings
I love you all and wish you best because you will be truly missed!
Feature Image Source: BBC