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It’s graduation season and Michelle Obama has been making her rounds giving inspiration speeches across the country. On Tuesday, the Flotus spoke at King College Prep High School in Chicago’s South Side.

“I know the struggles many of you face, how you walk the long way home to avoid the gangs; how you fight to concentrate on your schoolwork when there’s too much noise at home; how you keep it together when your family’s having a hard time making ends meet. But more importantly, I know the strength of this community.”

She also honored Hadiya Pendleton, a student of King College Prep who was shot dead two years ago at the age of 15.

“I know that many of you have already dealt with some serious losses in your lives,” Obama told the students. “Maybe you’ve lost someone you love, someone you desperately wish could be here with you tonight. And I know that many of you are thinking about Hadiya right now and feeling the hole that she’s left in your hearts.”

“I want you to understand that every scar that you have is a reminder not just that you got hurt, but that you survived,” Obama said, adding: “If Hadiya’s friends and family could survive their heartbreak and pain, if they could found organizations to honor her unfulfilled dreams, if they could inspire folks across this country to wear orange to protest gun violence, then I know you all can live your life with the same determination and joy that Hadiya lived her life. I know you all can dig deep and keep on fighting to fulfill your own dreams.”

According to the Chicago Tribune, all of King College Prep’s 177 graduates have been accepted to college.

“You embody all of the courage and love, all of the hunger and hope that have always defined these communities — our communities,” Obama said in the conclusion of her speech. “And I am so proud of you all, and I stay inspired because of you, and I can’t wait to see everything you all achieve in the years ahead.”

Photo Credit: AP

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  • Ann Gomez

    I’m sorry but the effort they put in to catering to illegals, is very telling on how they feel about the inner city youth. The money that funds the dream act should be going to inner city school. They should also be investing in robotic training programs, which are the jobs of the future. But of course black people find her speech as expiring as she sits in the White House worrying about school lunches….

    • Me

      agreed. the part about wearing orange to protest gun violence is just veiled victim blaming. if the obama administration had done what it promised to do & tightened gun laws, she wouldn’t be standing up there telling teenagers to face off w/criminals. and have you noticed that since obama unveiled that “my brother’s keeper” program over a year ago, there have been no status updates on what that program has accomplished? when he came into office, the world watched him like a hawk in the first 100 days to see if he’s actually worth his salt, but here we are a year & a half after he threw this bone to black chicagoans & nobody’s calling him out for failing us. the obama’s give us lip service & empty promises, but the black community is so easily pacified that you’ll hardly ever hear any of us say boo about it.

    • Ann Gomez

      I rembember Dr west complaing, but he was eventually silenced. Which is something I find disturbing, anytime a black person complains about Obama people try to silence them are they begin blaming Bush, when the real person to blame is Bill. Anyway the fact is Obama was a lame duck, and black people didn’t want to criticize him because he’s black. I remember when Obama got on tv and said black people need to stop complaining and put on their marching shoes, and not one black politician challenged his statement.

  • Regardless of someone ideological views, I have no problem with what the First Lady said. I know that xenophobia, Islamophobia, and other vicious prejudices may be in vogue among some (as economic struggles today cause some to point the finger at black folks and other folks of color in a disgraceful way when it is some of the Wall Street banks’ criminal activities that contributed to much of the economic downturn), but I don’t get down like that. People who just graduated from high school need a combination of inspiration to continue on their dreams and a realistic description about how the journey will not be easy. Also, tons of black people have great intellectual curiosity to know about the great value of technological jobs, investments, etc. without scapegoating people unfairly too. Black people have ideological diversity too. So, the youth have to continue in the fight for justice as our ancestors have done as well.

    • Ann Gomez

      Not so fast my brother, in California illegals have been a huge drain on the economy and the education system. They have leched so much that now they are trying to have the kids put on health care, which they contribute nothing too.
      You can say what you want, but the policy he has favor illegals instead of citizens. Obama has even spoken on putting illegals in the military, as they are trying to gut the military to the point where it’s no longer a career of opportunity. These nuts are talking about getting rid of the gi bill and retirement, these are jobs that have high employment of black people and he is trying to gut a path to middle class living.

      And another point, anytime a grown women can earn 4 degrees from the U.s and not be a citizen and you have Obama praise a liar and a theif during his speech, then you should know he’s bad news. You have kids and parents saying we can’t afford college, but we have no problem funding the education of illegals. I live In California so I have seen how good paying jobs are no longer available, do to most postions requiring you to be bilingual and that hurts Americans.
      Right now you have people protesting for 15 dollars an hour to flip burgers but in the next few years those jobs are going to be gone. Already in Japan they have robots that prepare and serve your food. The point is obama and his brain dead policy has not help black people, and in the next few years there going to be bigger issues.

    • Yes, I never will back down from what I have typed. Xenophobia is the hatred of someone because of their nationality. Condemning Xenophobia has nothing to do with condoning criminal behavior, acts of economic exploitation, and harming innocent people regardless of someone’s background. So, I don’t condone anyone (regardless of their nationality or immigration status) to enact evil against black people. So, I want to make that clear. I have never mentioned any of the things that you have cited and I don’t condone illegal immigrants exploiting people or doing evil.

      I did mention that xenophobia, Islamophobia, etc. are evils that must end. America was created in large part by white terrorists who illegally stole land from the native population. America via the Mexican-American war stole land after they conquered Native peoples then these pro-imperialists established arbitrary borders via treaty. No, I don’t support the scapegoating of every immigrant for every problem in America. It is the select corporations who exploited the global South in the pursuit of resources and goods that have exacerbated immigration issues in America. The President has made many mistakes, but he has deported more immigrants than Clinton and Bush. Bush has a more liberal immigration policy than Obama. Also, an infrastructure bill and job training bills has been rejected by a Republican majority House all of the time in this country.

      Some of the greatest liars and thieves are the “founders” who believed in white supremacy platitudes and then lecture people in national “sovereignty.” Some of the greatest liars today are Wall Street international bankers who stole the wealth of the masses of the people while they receive record profits. The actions of the military industrial complex far exceed the actions of people of various nationalities. People suffer economic problems by diverse reasons like a lax of economic opportunities, the growing of income inequality, and the capitalist exploitation of people. Any reasonable person would want any undocumented worker to be punished if they do crime or any evil actions. Many immigrants work hard just like black people have worked hard for centuries. I reject unfair stereotyping period.

      People have every God given right to protest for 15 dollars an hour, because the current nation minimum wage is a disgrace. It is a disgrace where grown men and grown women have to be paid starvation wages to survive in this nation. That is why people protested and LA won a key victory in that movement. Living wages have been supported by people from across the political spectrum. The point is that the President follows a neoliberal policy and people want the President to be more progressive. The Congress not just the President deserves blame for a lot of the problems we face.

    • Ann Gomez

      First Obama has not deported more illegals then bush, and that’s a fact. That was discovered a long time ago, there is a difference in the way the Obama administration counts deportations. Plus I hate when people use terms to say someones a bigiot or is intolerant like do you even know what the words mean. A example xenophobic would be South Africa, they literally murder illegals and hunt them down like catel,and I have not seen any of those actions in America.

      Now your point about minimum wage, fast food jobs are not a career. Those jobs were supposed to be for highschool students, but do to times changing and education price increases people got stuck in those careers…. Honestly I think those jobs won’t be around for long, with lawsuits against waiters and food tampering it’s going to be more economical to hire robots.
      That’s why it is important that black folk gets there butts in school because I have a feeling black Americans will be left behind, the overall black demographic is changing and the needs are different between the groups.

    • Some jobs people are fighting for a living wage are not just for fast food jobs. They are for other industries as well. There is nothing immoral about the raising of the minimum wage anyway. The current national minimum wage is a total disgrace as admitted by economic experts. I stand by every word that I have mentioned on this issue of the minimum wage. Never did I wrote that someone is a hater or intolerant, because someone has a certain viewpoint on immigration. I don’t agree with some putting words in my mouth. I always because in the diversity of ideological thought. So, I never call you a bigot or intolerant. I did mention that people who are real xenophobes are intolerant. You omit that many South Africans have led protests in opposition to xenophobia. Xenophobia exists worldwide not just in South Africa. Also, many immigrants have been victims of hate crimes including murder in America, which is a product of xenophobia. There has been laws that overtly restricted even legal immigration in American soil for eugenics reasons during the early 20th century. That’s a fact.

      My words on the President’s neoliberal agenda and on Congress are accurate. I will research your Bush/Obama information on immigration. There are many adults who suffer lax wages and these people have every moral and legal right to fight for workers’ rights. Many people have no choice but to take certain jobs, because of the economic situation that exists currently. That is why some want a radical economic policy to address stagnant economic growth. No one reasonable advocates black people not to get an education. For long decades, privatized corporations have neglect poor communities and we see the end result of this today. That is why we don’t need neglect, but investments.

    • Ann Gomez

      I was givining you an example of xenophobia. I just don’t like when people like to come with these labels, I talked about illegals and you mentioned xenophobia.
      Plus I have heard people saying college isn’t worth it, and the under funding of inner city schools is a non verbal message that’s being sent to kids.

      All I’m saying is increasing the minimum wage to 15 dollars an hour is silly because the jobs of the future are robotics and the tech industry. And those fast food jobs will be gone in the future, the real problem is inflation and people’s lifestyle choices.

      By the way what other low level job besides fast food, are they fighting for to gain hire wages?

    • I originally wrote about xenophobia and you responded to me. You made implications about what I wrote. Then, I set the record straight about my words and my reasoning behind the usage of those words. I have mentioned no labels to describe you. I did mention labels to describe others who are truly bigots, which is fine with me.

      I disagree with you on the minimum wage issue. The minimum wage increase in many locations will adjust based on the consumer price index and inflation. Also, the implementation of the minimum wage will exist in incremental stages. Tech jobs will increase, but with proper economic growth, the wages can sustain themselves (along with proper economic strategies). The vast majority of the American people believe in an increase of the national minimum wage as validated by poll after poll. We agree that education is very important. Poor communities need investments.

      There are plenty of flight attendants, airport workers, and other workers who are fighting for a higher minimum wage not just fast workers (who consist of adults also).

    • Ann Gomez

      And just so you know mexican is not a race, the Spanish invaded first and did all the dirty work then came the Americans. You have to remember the Spanish were from Spain, and they brung their religion and all there spanish names and forced the Indians to covert…… Besides Mexico was payed for these states, it’s just that now it looks like they were payed nothing but back then it was a lot. I always find it funny how people forget all the dirt the spanish did because Spain were the first invaders.

    • I know that Mexican is not a race. There are many Afro-Mexicans. The Spanish invaded first, but still the Americans stole the land as well. Also, non-Spanish Europeans stole land in North America to create the USA. Yes, I know the history of the conquistadors, etc. I don’t forget all of the dirt done by Spain. Mexico payed for these states after their lands were stolen. Americans also stole lands in the Philippines until the Philippines stood up and won their independence. It is ironic that some forget the worse dirt done by Western imperialists who try to play people of color against each other for their own interests. Just because the Spanish were the first invaders in Mexico, doesn’t mean that it ended with them.

    • Ann Gomez

      I never said that, I said the spainards were the first to rape, mane and steal the natives land. You omitted that and stated that as a reason illegals get a pass, that is what I infered from the comment. But you have to remember most natives were killed by the disease the spainards carried.

      If you ask me the Spanish got karma, how many places did they invade and steal from, and they have the nerve to say they were robbed texas. Wow, why people repate the non sense is beyond me.

    • I know what you wrote about the Spaniards. I never gave undocumented workers a pass to do evil, so I want to make that point clear. The Native population of the Americas did suffer disease and genocide by the Spaniards and other European terrorists. The Spanish got Karma and the British received Karma by their British Empire being mostly gone soon after WWII ended. So, this is my last response to you on this issue. I’m moving forward.

    • Saramel

      Being bilingual is demanded in many countries anyway especially when they are well paid.People have to adapt to it and learn more languages which is an advantage anyway.No matter if you need it for your job or in private life.

    • Ann Gomez

      True, but being bi

  • mariah asphalt

    My Sheroe is so brilliant and compassionate. Ann Gomez and Me you can go ahead and try to slam the FLOTUS if you want to, but the speech was not about what you have interjected here. It was about being to overcome harsh adversities and achieve anyway. And how she was not surprised by their achievements, because she knows that they have the ability to do so and are worththy in their achievements. You are mixing apples and oranges.

    • Ann Gomez

      It’s not mixing Apple and oranges, talk is cheap and i haven’t seen a lot of progress action from them.

    • mariah asphalt

      What’d you see from George Bush?

    • Me

      the same thing we see from obama. no action.

    • Me

      bw have been fed the “strong black woman” fake compliment for decades so that it would be ok to never lend them a helping hand b/c we’re expected to “overcome” everything on our own. now flotus gives black teens the exact same trope. children shouldn’t have to do anything on their own. the only reason people compliment survivors is b/c they were expecting them not to survive. these kids deserve more than a kudos for overcoming. they deserve to be protected. they deserve real changes to be made in their community so that other black kids can spend their childhoods being groomed for greatness instead of juggling life or death situations w/schoolwork. in a country where a hs degree doesn’t even guarantee you a living wage job, black kids shouldn’t be made to feel like finishing hs is some extraordinary feat. finishing hs should be a given & a 1st family that pretends to care about an afflicted area of the country that they used to call home should have more to say than “i knew you could make it outta that warzone… wear orange to protest your own environment”.

    • mariah asphalt

      Your statement is so convoluted I cannot even began to know where/what/how to respond.

    • Me

      i’ll simplify it so you can understand: giving somebody kudos for being “strong” when they have been denied protection that everyone else has been given is not a compliment. it’s a cop out for not protecting them & expecting them to survive anyway. while you coo over michelle’s empty words, you’re overlooking the fact that these kids have been left to fend for themselves by her & her husband who supposedly care deeply for chicago.

    • Ann Gomez

      I couldn’t agree more, if you don’t finish highschool how on earth are you supposed to survive. This is a real issue for black kids, and education is not at the forefront of most households and that’s a problem.

    • Osato Egonmwan

      The realest comment i have seen so far. I couldn’t agree more took the words right out my mouth .