Deena Rubin: Michelle Obama inspiring role model

  • First Lady Michelle Obama speaks Friday, Oct. 21, 2016,  to student participants during Grammy Museum musical workshops in the East Room of the White House in Washington, D.C.  AP FILE PHOTO

Published: 11/21/2016 7:48:51 PM

We would be wise to hold onto the goodness of our official role model Michelle Obama. We might have other role models, but let’s grab onto her as she won’t be our First Lady for long.

Before she became our First Lady, Michelle Obama decided her true calling was to serve her communities and their neighbors.

Looking at some of her contributions to Americans during the two terms of Barack Obama’s presidency, Michelle Obama concerned herself with the well-being of thousands of adults, kids and their families across the nation. Michelle Obama’s strong work ethic, strength of character, integrity and adherence to strong American rights are the definition of “First Lady.”

A program, established by our First Lady that she termed “Let’s move!” brought movement to thousands of kids in the form of dancing and other physical activity. Another part of the program addresses obesity that affects young people. She worked and advocated to reduce the cost of fruits and vegetables and to eliminate ads for junk foods in Disney theme parks.

Another program developed and run by her helped girls in foreign countries have access to education. Back at home, she established “Reach Higher,” a program that enables teens to access higher education after high school. They were taught the importance of going onto further study through their school counselors and learned about the application process to colleges.

She also brought wellness, education and employment programs to help veterans and their families. She urged all Americans to rally to support service members and their families.

In addition to these fine programs set up by Michelle Obama, we need to also begin using the school curriculum to teach children about prejudice as early as possible. Parents and family members of these children can also be involved through conversation. At the same time, teachers and adult mentors can instill the clear message that their students have the strength and conviction to not be prejudiced against others. People with low self-esteem are often the same people who bully, blame and threaten.

These incidents have reached dangerous proportions. Here in western Massachusetts, in our Happy Valley we will benefit from organizing ourselves together in further progressive ways.

A main priority involves addressing the bullying, racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic and anti-Semitic signs, graffiti, and threats. These social issues have accelerated in response to the presidential election.

I do not think that it is enough to clean off the racist, anti-Semitic graffiti threatening “Kill all (N-word)” “Gas the Jews” along with “Trump 2016” on Mount Tom (I am, however, very thankful to those who did). We need to counter those hurtful, threatening words with public messages, banners, TV messages, and announcements on the local radio stations.

“Love your neighbor as yourself.” “Do not do to others what you would not have them do to you.” We can speak these words loudly and clearly for all to hear. Everyone in our community can have the opportunity to combat these rising obstacles.

Educational administrators may need support from the state to expand these or similar services. The news media has been covering atrocious events and must now make it known that hateful and threatening words and acts are socially unacceptable.

Michelle Obama rallies people to support community needs. She is with us for a bit longer in her current role. Let us take inspiration from her as we move forward.

Deena Rubin is an educator who lives in Amherst.

Daily Hampshire Gazette Office

115 Conz Street
Northampton, MA 01061


Copyright © 2021 by H.S. Gere & Sons, Inc.
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy