“We Can Overcome Anything That Stands In Our Way”


The First Lady at Tuskegee University, May 09, 2015

“…… The road ahead is not going to be easy. It never is, especially for folks like you and me. Because while we’ve come so far, the truth is that those age-old problems are stubborn and they haven’t fully gone away. So there will be times, just like for those Airmen, when you feel like folks look right past you, or they see just a fraction of who you really are.

The world won’t always see you in those caps and gowns. They won’t know how hard you worked and how much you sacrificed to make it to this day – the countless hours you spent studying to get this diploma, the multiple jobs you worked to pay for school, the times you had to drive home and take care of your grandma, the evenings you gave up to volunteer at a food bank or organize a campus fundraiser. They don’t know that part of you.

Instead they will make assumptions about who they think you are based on their limited notion of the world. And my husband and I know how frustrating that experience can be. We’ve both felt the sting of those daily slights throughout our entire lives – the folks who crossed the street in fear of their safety; the clerks who kept a close eye on us in all those department stores; the people at formal events who assumed we were the “help” – and those who have questioned our intelligence, our honesty, even our love of this country.

And I know that these little indignities are obviously nothing compared to what folks across the country are dealing with every single day – those nagging worries that you’re going to get stopped or pulled over for absolutely no reason; the fear that your job application will be overlooked because of the way your name sounds; the agony of sending your kids to schools that may no longer be separate, but are far from equal; the realization that no matter how far you rise in life, how hard you work to be a good person, a good parent, a good citizen – for some folks, it will never be enough.

And all of that is going to be a heavy burden to carry. It can feel isolating. It can make you feel like your life somehow doesn’t matter – that you’re like the invisible man that Tuskegee grad Ralph Ellison wrote about all those years ago. And as we’ve seen over the past few years, those feelings are real. They’re rooted in decades of structural challenges that have made too many folks feel frustrated and invisible. And those feelings are playing out in communities like Baltimore and Ferguson and so many others across this country.

But, graduates, today, I want to be very clear that those feelings are not an excuse to just throw up our hands and give up. Not an excuse. They are not an excuse to lose hope. To succumb to feelings of despair and anger only means that in the end, we lose.

But here’s the thing – our history provides us with a better story, a better blueprint for how we can win. It teaches us that when we pull ourselves out of those lowest emotional depths, and we channel our frustrations into studying and organizing and banding together – then we can build ourselves and our communities up. We can take on those deep-rooted problems, and together – together – we can overcome anything that stands in our way.”


Posted already …. but these words can never be posted enough.


The Full Speech

102 Responses to ““We Can Overcome Anything That Stands In Our Way””

  1. 1 COS
    May 10, 2015 at 4:04 pm

    Happy Mothers Day Chips, mother of Danny.

  2. May 10, 2015 at 4:08 pm

    CNN just were talking about FLOTUS speech at Tuskegee U.

  3. 7 GGail
    May 10, 2015 at 4:20 pm

    Upon coming home, I went searching for the full video and came across a snippet from ABC news. Curious, I clicked on the comments and saw this one…”The road ahead is not going to be easy. It never is, especially for folks like you and me…” What a pathetic whiner. My God, she’s the First Lady and she is still playing the victim. To see someone so ill at ease with her success that she just can’t say “Look at me. It’s all out in front of you. Go get it.”
    What do we get? “especially for folks like you and me..”. sniveling crybaby’

    Can anyone explain why people don’t like to hear AA’s speak of the injustice that is still prevalent? That we must continue in encouraging the next generation to keep on keeping on?

    • 8 COS
      May 10, 2015 at 4:33 pm

      I also noticed that Yahoo has an article about FLOTUS’ speech. There were over 5k com men ts which I refused to read. I am sure there were a lot of haters.

    • May 10, 2015 at 5:11 pm

      GGail, first of all we have to understand were must of those kind of comments are coming from. What kind of people they are, and most likely they never cared for the First Lady in the first place. Those kind of people want us to shut up and be grateful. If they spit in our face, we should be grateful, if they slap us, if they murder us, how dare we complain, how dare we have anything to say. The First Lady had every right to say what she said, I didn’t hear her whine one bit. I heard her speak the truth and I thank her for that speech. Yahoo is full of alot of right wing haters and here is what I do, say what I want to say and not read those racists haters.

      • May 10, 2015 at 5:17 pm

        I do my best not to read any of those comments, sometimes I read some, and then I will give it right back to them in my response.It might not do any good but I am going to stand up for my President and First Lady. And I don’t give a dam who you are.

      • 13 0388jojothecat
        May 10, 2015 at 6:57 pm

        Hi GGail those thugs comments just proves that the fact they could not understand FLOTUS’s speech was not for them. This speech was to thoshe bright, hopeful, intelligent graduates and every AA man, woman, child and compassionate human being who understands what AA are going through. They/We know Mrs. Obama speaks the truth. She and PBO preserved inspire of the obstacles they faced. They are winners and those posters are whinney losers.

    • May 10, 2015 at 6:02 pm

      Because ..if they convince themselves that we are whining..then they are not obligated to become involved to do anything about the injustice…and to admit to the privilege that they benefit form

    • 17 MightyPamela
      May 10, 2015 at 7:03 pm

      I’ll explain it: because the Truth bites them in their lily white butts.

  4. 19 Nena20409
    May 10, 2015 at 4:52 pm

    Congrats COS on your Gold ⭐
    For the Love of Education……I have spent the last 2 hours looking for the Full Video of the Brilliant Speech delivered at the Commencement of Class 2015 as graciously delivered by FLOTUS…… and Nada…..just YouTube with 2 videos of 2mins and 2.37 mins each.
    Tuskegee University, I was hoping would have made FLOTUS’ speech readily available for all to view and enjoy.

  5. 20 GGail
    May 10, 2015 at 4:52 pm

    Your statement that is can never be posted or read enough is so true Chips. Thanks for being so wise 🙂

  6. 24 jacquelineoboomer
    May 10, 2015 at 5:03 pm

    My take (and it’s nothing new for any of us here):

    Despite the draw since we always expect something better, I say ignore the comments on news sites and blogs and ignore the news interpreters on cable TV. Just listened to CNN for five minutes, and could hear in my head how some could and will take snippets of the First Lady’s speech and pretend she’s the only one who thinks it’s all true (as we know, everyone knows it all to be true, even if we personally haven’t had the experiences – the haters just can’t handle the truth), and she’s “whining.”

    Those of us who heard the speech yesterday or since with our ears open (she’s said much of this in other venues, of course) know that it was exactly what was needed by the Tuskegee U grads in the audience, it was an adjunct to what their teachers and professors and all the conscientious adults in their lives have been telling them all along, the words were both said in confirmation of what they’ve experienced and to uplift their hearts and minds so that they, too, can rise about it all and be successful and happy adults. Her challenges of prior years are still their challenges today, and only a buffoon or a hater would think otherwise. She’s a winner, not a whiner. I’m siding with and listening to people who want to be and work toward being winners – no matter who they are – and not the losers. Haters gonna hate, and I spit in their faces.

    #Forward #ThereIsAnEndlessSupplyOfPaint

    • 25 GGail
      May 10, 2015 at 5:23 pm

      J’OB, you heard what I heard; words of encouragement. I shouldn’t have looked at the comments. Thanks!

      • 26 jacquelineoboomer
        May 10, 2015 at 6:36 pm

        I listened to 5 mins. of CNN, too, so I was reminding myself, as well! 🙂

      • 28 MightyPamela
        May 10, 2015 at 7:09 pm

        For sure, GGail, trolls are paid well to sleaze into anything presented about POTUS or FLOTUS and begin to degrade whatever is said. Their souls are dark and deserted holes in a black universe, devoid of Light, devoid of compassion, of harmony, of all things we embrace to make life worthwhile. Although I pray for them, it is on them to take responsibility to make the effort to come into the Light, and they will not. Hatred, and money, that is what is real for those commenters who refuse to accept the world moving forward, with or without them. It is always best for your own mental health to avoid comments, tho there are also many of a positive and loving tone, the haters words and evil energy shocks us. Such is their goal. It is nearly unfathomable that human beings can vibrate so low. We cannot go down there to that level, it is nearly impossible for us who embrace Love and Truth and Light and Inclusivity. We can only walk away from it. Love you, GGail. Breathe a bit now, make some tea. TOD is here for us, blessings to Chipsticks and NerdyW for keeping all that darkness away from our sanctuary. ❤

  7. 30 jacquelineoboomer
    May 10, 2015 at 5:06 pm

    Chips – I forgot to properly greet you and thank you for posting this, you angel!

  8. 32 jacquelineoboomer
    May 10, 2015 at 5:10 pm

    Extreme grasp of the obvious.

    • 33 vcprezofan2
      May 10, 2015 at 5:52 pm

      A ‘call’ is enough to make a candidate ‘formidable’? We’ll be seeing a lot of ‘formidable’ candidates this season then!

      • 34 jacquelineoboomer
        May 10, 2015 at 6:35 pm

        Yep. They’re all so “formidable,” I can barely stand it. 🙂

        • 35 vcprezofan2
          May 10, 2015 at 6:49 pm

          From the way everyone’s supporters are looking for things to highlight pretty soon all the candidates will be formidable just for the fact they can breathe in and out and utter a coherent sentence at the same time. 😉 Anyhoo, I won’t let thoughts of them mar the waning moments of a good day.

      • 37 MightyPamela
        May 10, 2015 at 7:19 pm

        #estoh I can’t even write it out anymore. #yawn

    • 38 vcprezofan2
      May 10, 2015 at 5:56 pm

      JO’B, how is great grandson? You have been quite delinquent in sharing his latest words of wisdom (or have I missed them in my in-and-out jaunts?)!

      • 39 jacquelineoboomer
        May 10, 2015 at 6:34 pm

        You recall I mentioned he and Mommy are in FL – where my youngest (1-1/2 y/o) great grandson is – and both boys are having a great, great time. Mom and aunts are sharing his quotes and we’ve spoken to him on the phone … he misses us and vice versa, but last time we talked, I said “I’ll see ya when I see ya” – and he repeated it all on his own, as I taught him. Wish he were here to hug, but he’s happy and having fun, so “Life is good,” as I also taught him to say! Thanks for asking, sugar.

        • 40 vcprezofan2
          May 10, 2015 at 6:45 pm

          Of course I remembered he’s out of town, JO’B, but I felt sure he’d be in touch for today! Whenever I think of something he has said/done I usually smile.

    • 42 Vicki
      May 10, 2015 at 6:54 pm

      Oh FFS. jacquelineo. iam already out of patience with HRC.
      She “calls.”
      She “takes strong positions.”

      What she didn’t do in 6 years in the Senate is accomplish much besides befriending Sam Brownback and other RWers.

      I said the same thing when Anthony “underpants” Weiner tried to run for NYC Mayor. His record revealed that the ONLY legislation he sponsored was a real estate law favoring landlords that Mayor de Blasio is now attempting to rollback.

    • 43 Vicki
      May 10, 2015 at 7:02 pm

      “calls for”
      “Takes a strong position.”
      What if anything has HRC ever done while in office? Enlighten me. It is a real question. Name a single progressive piece of legislation she sponsored.
      All I recall is her cozying up to Sam Brownback and other RWers.

      • 44 jacquelineoboomer
        May 10, 2015 at 9:00 pm

        To me, she seems as though she’s just calling it in, or reading from a playbook somebody gave her. Cannot understand why she is running, when it seemed she was done with politics. ???

  9. 45 Nena20409
    May 10, 2015 at 5:13 pm

    Satire my 4eyes

    Here’s what David Remnick said then:
    New Yorker editor David Remnick responds in our exclusive interview, calling the cover “satire” targeting not Obama, but the “absurdity” of the rumors flying about him.
    Today, Mr. Remnick works for the State Dept.

    The First Lady was 1001% accurate. Only haters would deny or fake amnesia to the Accuracy of what Mrs. Obama had to say yesterday.

    • May 10, 2015 at 6:05 pm

      the cover is not satire it is BS….

      • May 10, 2015 at 6:08 pm

        in fact it proves what the FL said at the commencement…we black folks know this…this cover is not geared towards us..it is geared towards certain white folks…you take your pick who that might be….tired of this JIVE…but we must battle on…no matter how unfair it may be…hell it is ever happening…with no end

    • May 10, 2015 at 6:22 pm

      I remember when that cover came out and I was furious at the time instead of satire it seemed to be reinforcing the absurd negatives it represented.

    • 50 Vicki
      May 10, 2015 at 6:59 pm

      This cover is an abomination. It was the end of my subscription to The New Yorker. Made me sick then and still is disturbing.

      • 51 Vicki
        May 10, 2015 at 7:05 pm

        One of the last issues sent to me is now with Henry in Moneygall. The Inauguration issue which was wonderful.
        Damage done and not reversible, however. Kind of how it is now with DWS and DNC.

  10. 52 jacquelineoboomer
    May 10, 2015 at 5:17 pm

    • 54 vcprezofan2
      May 10, 2015 at 5:35 pm

      Chips, looking at M’s boots in that satirical pic reminded me that your BFF recently left you a couple of links for waterproof boots. Did you see them? [better say ‘yes’ ’cause I can’t remember where she left them. 😀 ]

  11. 56 vcprezofan2
    May 10, 2015 at 5:26 pm

    “To succumb to feelings of despair and anger only means that in the end, we lose.”

    Thank you so much, Most Sagacious and Savvy Sovereign of Sexy (©Dudette), for keeping this motivating speech up front.
    ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

  12. May 10, 2015 at 5:57 pm

    Michelle Obama’s speech was some kind of awesome. Every child should read it. Happy mother’s day everyone.

  13. 65 vcprezofan2
    May 10, 2015 at 5:59 pm

    Did Japa go on vacation? *I* haven’t run across him in over a week.

  14. May 10, 2015 at 6:06 pm

    Not the best quality, but the first full length video I’ve been able to find of First Lady Obama’s truly historic Tuskegee Graduation speech ….

    Once again, Happy Mothers’ Day to all TOD moms!!

    bbl …

  15. 73 vcprezofan2
    May 10, 2015 at 6:09 pm

    Re-posting my made-with-you-all-in-mind Mother’s Day wish for those who may have missed it.

    • 74 jacquelineoboomer
      May 10, 2015 at 6:41 pm

      Thanks so much, VC, and to you! Invited to brunch at my son’s house earlier, then just spent an hour of “alone time” with him – the best kind of time, no matter how old they are! Yes, I ate from my box of chocolate candy between all that. Thank you, son!

    • 78 MightyPamela
      May 10, 2015 at 7:23 pm

      ❤ VC ❤

      • 79 vcprezofan2
        May 10, 2015 at 8:13 pm

        Thank you and a very tardy “Happy Mommy’s Day” to you, MP! Sure hope today’s service was uplifting as well as mommy-centred. ❤ ❤

  16. May 10, 2015 at 6:10 pm

    How about this Cavs-Bulls series? Lebron just hit the game winning shot to tied the series 2-2. Hay POTUS, another good game, but the Bulls lost.

  17. 82 hopefruit2
    May 10, 2015 at 6:23 pm

  18. 85 Obama Grandmama
    May 10, 2015 at 6:34 pm

    Heard from all four of my grown kids today. I just want to get a phone call from them on Mothers Day. Just having a conversation with them instead of a gift is my wish. The daughter in Munich emailed me yesterday to say she did not know if she would be able to skype with me today since she was going on a bachelorette weekend prior to her BBF’s wedding. She posted a nice FB post and tribute with a photo of us together in Lucerne though. Spoke to my two sons and other daughter. We all live in different states so hearing from everyone on the same day is special.

    • 86 vcprezofan2
      May 10, 2015 at 6:56 pm

      Great! I can feel your happiness seeping through, OG – Happy Mother’s Day indeed!

  19. 87 Nerdy Wonka
    May 10, 2015 at 6:36 pm

  20. May 10, 2015 at 7:21 pm

  21. 90 ourmanflint
    May 10, 2015 at 7:30 pm

    Well said Chips. Thanks for this great post.

  22. May 10, 2015 at 7:37 pm

    I spend the afternoon at my daughter and son-in-law’s home celebrating mother’s day. We all took turns holding our new grand babies, Paul and Lucia. They are two months old, and growing fast. Born premature they have no almost doubled their birth weight. The other grandparents were there too, so it was a warm and sweet gathering to celebrate motherhood and grandmotherhood, and the little boy and girl who are now in the family.

  23. 96 arapaho415
    May 10, 2015 at 7:49 pm

    GA TODville, happy Mother’s Day to everyone and all Moms in TODville:

    Heard this on CBS radio network news this afternoon…

  24. 97 Nena20409
    May 10, 2015 at 8:43 pm

    Not Bad at all 🙂

  25. 98 Nena20409
    May 10, 2015 at 8:45 pm

    Who were the ones who said that JEB was the smart Bush?

  26. 99 Nena20409
    May 10, 2015 at 8:48 pm

  27. 100 Nena20409
    May 10, 2015 at 8:49 pm

    Wishing Jimmy Carter a speedy recovery.

  28. 102 Nena20409
    May 10, 2015 at 8:54 pm

Comments are currently closed.







Enter your email address to receive notifications of new posts by email.



RSS Obama White House.gov

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.

RSS WH Tumblr

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.

RSS Steve Benen

  • After Biden conference, will allies be left wondering if U.S. will waffle on Ukraine?
  • 'As bad as it gets': Trump took hits from all sides this week. What hurt him most?
  • Florida health official put on leave after promoting Covid vaccines 
  • He lost everyone he knew due to his obsession with QAnon. Then came Jan. 6.
  • Biden disappointed but not deterred after Senate fails to pass voting rights reform



Blog Stats

  • 43,178,811 hits

%d bloggers like this: