Michelle Obama gave her final speech Friday morning, at a White House ceremony honoring the School Counselor of the Year.
Michelle Obama offered a message to young Americans in an emotional, teary-eyed final speech as first lady: “This country belongs to you.”
“Do not ever let anyone make you feel like you don’t matter or like you don’t have a place in our American story, because you do. And you have a right to be exactly who you are. When you are struggling and you start thinking about giving up, I want you to remember something that my husband and I have talked about since we first started this journey nearly a decade ago.”
The packed crowd — filled with stars such as “Nashville’s” Connie Britton, singers Usher and Kelly Rowland, and Bravo host Andy Cohen — sat in awe at the First Lady’s powerful words.
“Something that has carried us through every moment in this White House and every moment of our lives — and that is the power of hope. The belief that something better is always possible if you’re willing to work for it and fight for it.”
Obama said during the impassioned speech, “If your family doesn’t have much money, I want you to remember that in this country, plenty of folks, including me and my husband, we started out with very little.”
“Though with a lot of hard work and a good education, anything is possible, even becoming president. That’s what the American dream is all about,” she said to applause.
Without naming him, Obama appeared to hit back at some of Donald Trump’s controversial campaign rhetoric about Muslims. Calling religious diversity a “great American tradition,” Obama said, “Our glorious diversity — our diversity of faiths, of colors, of creeds — that is not a threat to who we are. It makes us who we are.”
“That is what moves this country forward every single day: our hope for the future, and the hard work that hope inspires,” Obama said to a standing ovation, as she appeared to wipe away tears.
Obama concluded, “Don’t be afraid. Lead by example with hope, never fear. And know that I will be with you, rooting for you and working to support you for the rest of my life.”
Finally, “Being your first lady has been the greatest honor of my life and I hope I’ve made you proud.”