Now that the year is drawing to a close, many people are looking ahead to what will hopefully be a brighter new year. Former First Lady Michelle Obama opened up about what she wants to see in 2021.
“For me, the holidays have always been a chance to slow down and reflect,” wrote Obama in a lengthy Instagram post. “We’ve endured so much this past year, from the devastation of the pandemic to the ups and downs of a hard-won election. But what has perhaps stayed with me most is the passionate message of justice and empathy that has defined the Black Lives Matter protests around the world.”
Obama also shared a clip of an interview given by activist Patrick Hutchinson, a Black Lives Matter protestor who carried an injured man away from the protests after the man was attacked. “I have no idea who this man was,” Hutchinson told CNN. “All I know is that he was there, up to no good, let’s just say. He wasn’t here to support Black Lives Matter.”
Michelle Obama hopes for more understanding in 2021
“I want to highlight this story because it’s hard to see so many people distort the unity and righteousness of these protests,” wrote Obama. “They’ve been sowing seeds of division, misrepresenting those crying out for justice as troublemakers or criminals. The truth is the millions around the world who showed up with their homemade signs were marching with the same kind of compassion that Mr. Hutchinson shows here. They’re folks who face discrimination on a daily basis because of the color of their skin. And they’re just asking to be shown the same level of humanity that our consciences demand we show anyone else in need.”
Obama wrote that she “hope[s] more people can find it in their hearts to meet these cries for decency not with mistrust, but with love and a willingness to listen,” and urged people to continue to protest injustice. “We can’t watch a man choked to death in the light of day and assume that all our children can be safe,” she wrote.
She concluded her message with a prayer for next year. “I pray that in 2021, more of us will reach out to understand the experiences of those who don’t look, or vote, or think like we do,” wrote Obama. “I pray that we learn to pause when we’re tempted to react in anger or suspicion. And I pray that we choose generosity and kindness over our worst impulses. That isn’t always easy. But it’s a place to start.”
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