The Michelle Obama speech that won’t be plagiarised any time soon


Speaking truth to power is nothing new for Michelle Obama whom many believe has fearlessly stood her ground on issues that matter during her years at the White House. And this was the case in her last commencement address as First Lady of the United States – which many of the graduates of class 2016 at  City College of New York, (institution has produced 10 Nobel Prize winners) will remember long after she has left the White House, come January 2017. This probably, is one speech that will see no plagiary, in the current state of America.


We had to revisit  those Michelle Obama words:

“…Just look around.  Look at who you are… you represent more than 150 nationalities.  You speak more than 100 different languages… You represent just about every possible background -– every colour and culture, every faith and walk of life.  And you’ve taken so many different paths to this moment. Maybe your family has been in this city for generations, or maybe, like my family, they came to this country centuries ago in chains…

But, graduates, no matter where your journey started, you have all made it here today through the same combination of unyielding determination, sacrifice, and a whole lot of hard work… So, graduates, with your glorious diversity, with your remarkable accomplishments and your deep commitment to your communities, you all embody the very purpose of this school’s founding.  And, more importantly, you embody the very hopes and dreams carved into the base of that iconic statue not so far from where we sit — on that island where so many of your predecessors at this school first set foot on our shores…

But unfortunately, graduates, despite the lessons of our history and the truth of your experience here at City College, some folks out there today seem to have a very different perspective.  They seem to view our diversity as a threat to be contained rather than as a resource to be tapped.  They tell us to be afraid of those who are different, to be suspicious of those with whom we disagree.  They act as if name-calling is an acceptable substitute for thoughtful debate, as if anger and intolerance should be our default state rather than the optimism and openness that have always been the engine of our progress…

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But, graduates, I can tell you, as First Lady, I have had the privilege of traveling around the world and visiting dozens of different countries, and I have seen what happens when ideas like these take hold.  I have seen how leaders who rule by intimidation –- leaders who demonize and dehumanize entire groups of people –- often do so because they have nothing else to offer.  And I have seen how places that stifle the voices and dismiss the potential of their citizens are diminished; how they are less vital, less hopeful, less free.”

You can read the full speech here

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