Recently, a former first lady sat down with Robin Roberts to reflect on some of the topics covered in her much-anticipated memoir, Becoming. Among other insights, Michelle Obama's 20/20 interview revealed the inspiring legacy she seeks to leave for young people through telling her own story.
Obama's interview with Roberts aired on Sunday evening on ABC. At the end of the interview, Roberts pointedly asked Obama, "What do you want your legacy to be?" In response, Obama reflected on the impact she hopes her story will have on America's youth:
Young people are the future. And if my story, my journey, somehow gives them hope, if I played a role in that for some young people comin' down the line, then I'll feel good about it.
Obama also directly touched on the topic of youth empowerment in her memoir. During her interview with Roberts, she read a compelling excerpt from Becoming that stressed that young people (and all people) shouldn't be afraid to use their "authentic voices" to make a difference in the world. As Obama put it:
There’s a power in allowing yourself to be known and heard in owning your unique story, in using your authentic voice. And there’s a grace in being willing to know and hear others. This, for me, is how we become.
In addition to discussing the legacy she hopes to leave for young people, Obama also reflected on the steps she took to reach out to the younger generation while she was first lady. For example, Obama described to Roberts how she created "companion events" for children when there were special occasions at the White House. "Whether it was a music event, or whether it was the state dinner, during that earlier part of the day we'd have a companion event with young kids from around the country," Obama said. "They could eat the food as well and meet the entertainers."
In describing why it was so important to her to bring children into the White House, the former first lady emphasized that she wanted them to have a sense of ownership of the space. As Obama described:
It was important to me for young people to know that the White House was theirs too. We didn't want them to just be looking in through the wrought-iron gates, thinking, 'I wonder what's goin' on in there.'
Many of Obama's initiatives as first lady also reflected this commitment to empowering the next generation. During her tenure, she launched the Let's Move! campaign, which focused on ending childhood obesity by establishing healthy habits. She also spearheaded an overhaul of food services in schools to provide healthier lunch options for students and created a White House vegetable garden to highlight her family's and the White House's commitment to improving the country's health.
Obama has always been committed to working to improve the lives of young people. She made it clear in her interview with Roberts that she hopes that her life story, and her work on behalf of children, will help inspire the next generation to live their lives to the fullest.