On what is the 60th anniversary of the landmark Brown v. the Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas, decision that outlawed segregation in public schools, First Lady Michelle Obama delivered a speech to a graduating class in Topeka that tackled racism.
“By some measures, our schools are as segregated as they were back when Dr. King gave his final speech,” FLOTUS says. “And even in schools that seem integrated according to the numbers, when you look a little closer, you see students from different backgrounds sitting at separate lunch tables, or tracked into different classes, or separated into different clubs or activities.”
FLOTUS called the graduating class of Topeka’s high schools the “living, breathing legacy” of the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court case. She said it was not only about our history, but also our future.
“Because while that case was handed down 60 years ago, Brown is still being decided every single day – not just in our courts and schools, but in how we live our lives,” she says. “Graduates, it’s up to all of you to lead the way and drag my generation and your grandparents’ generation along with you.”
“Maybe that starts in your own family, when Grandpa tells that awkward joke at Thanksgiving or your aunt says something about ‘those people,’ and you politely inform them that they’re talking about your friends,” she says.