Michelle Obama details ‘fears’ as a mother of black children


Michelle Obama has opened up the fear she has in her heart as a mother to black children, saying she worries about the negative assumptions that might be made about her daughters Malia and Sasha every time they get into a car by themselves. 

The former First Lady  discussed the constant fear in the black community and her reaction to Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin being convicted of murdering George Floyd during an interview with CBS This Morning, which aired on Friday. 

Mrs. Obama, 57, and her husband, former President Barack Obama, 59, released a rare statement after the verdict, saying the ‘jury did the right thing’ but ‘true justice requires much more’ to be done.  

‘The goal is to let leaders lead. But in certain times, people, you know, look to us often. “Well, what do you think? How do you feel?”‘ she told Gayle King when asked about the verdict during their sit down in Washington, D.C. 

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Talk: Michelle Obama sat down with CBS This Morning anchor Gayle King in Washington, D.C. to discuss the racial divide in America during an interview that aired on Friday 

Living in fear: Mrs. Obama shared her worries about the assumptions that might be made about her daughters Malia, 22, and Sasha, 19, when they get behind the wheel

Living in fear: Mrs. Obama shared her worries about the assumptions that might be made about her daughters Malia, 22, and Sasha, 19, when they get behind the wheel

‘We know that while we’re all breathing a sigh of relief over the verdict, there’s still work to be done. And so we, we can’t sort of say, “Great. That happened. Let’s move on,”‘ she said. 

‘I know that people in the black community don’t feel that way because many of us still live in fear.’ 

Mrs. Obama said black Americans are afraid to grocery shop, walk their dogs, and drive, a fear she is not immune to even as the wife of a former president. The mother of two said her daughters Malia, 22, and Sasha, 19, are both licensed drivers, and she worries about them being pulled over in these racially and politically divided times. 

‘Every time they get in a car by themselves, I worry about what assumption is being made by somebody who doesn’t know everything about them. The fact that they are good students and polite girls. But maybe they’re playin’ their music a little loud. Maybe somebody sees the back of their head and makes an assumption,’ she said. 

‘The innocent act of getting a license puts fear in our hearts.’

Mrs. Obama stressed that black Americans don’t want to be marching in the streets, but the need for change and open dialogue has forced them to.   

Thoughts: Mrs. Obama also opened about her reaction to Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin being convicted of murdering George Floyd

Thoughts: Mrs. Obama also opened about her reaction to Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin being convicted of murdering George Floyd

Candid: She said that 'while we're all breathing a sigh of relief over the verdict, there's still work to be done'

Candid: She said that ‘while we’re all breathing a sigh of relief over the verdict, there’s still work to be done’

‘I think we have to talk about it more. And we have to ask our fellow citizens to listen a bit more, and to believe us, and to know we don’t wanna be out there marchin’. I mean, all those Black Lives Matters kids, they’d rather not have to worry about this,’ she said. 

‘They’re takin’ to the streets because they have to. They’re tryin’ to have people understand that that we’re real folks, and the fear that many have of so many of us is irrational. And it’s based on a history that is just, it’s sad and it’s dark. And it’s time for us to move beyond that.’ 

The second half of Mrs. Obama’s interview will air on CBS This Morning on Monday, and King said she discussed everything from the pandemic’s effect on mental health to her ongoing advocacy to ensure all families have access to healthy food. 

The former First Lady, who spearheaded a healthy eating campaign while in the White House, is now the executive producer of the Netflix children’s show ‘Waffles and Mochi,’ which teaches kids the importance of healthy eating while exploring food and culture around the world.  

Mrs. Obama’s interview comes two weeks after the Chauvin verdict. The white former police officer was convicted of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter in the May 25 death of Floyd.

Using their platform: The Obamas released a rare joint statement after the verdict, saying the 'jury did the right thing' but 'true justice requires much more' to be done

Using their platform: The Obamas released a rare joint statement after the verdict, saying the ‘jury did the right thing’ but ‘true justice requires much more’ to be done

Call to action: 'While today's verdict may have been a necessary step on the road to progress, it was far from a sufficient one. We cannot rest,' they wrote

Call to action: ‘While today’s verdict may have been a necessary step on the road to progress, it was far from a sufficient one. We cannot rest,’ they wrote  

Evidence at trial showed Chauvin pressed his knee against Floyd´s neck for nine and a half minutes as the black man said he couldn’t breathe and went motionless. Chauvin and three fellow officers were attempting to arrest Floyd, accused of using a fake $20 bill to buy cigarettes at a grocery store.

The Obamas released a joint statement in response to the verdict, saying more strides to be made to achieve true justice. 

‘While today’s verdict may have been a necessary step on the road to progress, it was far from a sufficient one. We cannot rest,’ the wrote. ‘We will need to follow through with the concrete reforms that will reduce and ultimately eliminate racial bias in our criminal justice system. We will need to redouble efforts to expand economic opportunity for those communities that have been too long marginalized.

‘And as we continue the fight, we can draw strength from the millions of people — especially young people — who have marched and protested and spoken up over the last year, shining a light on inequity and calling for change. Justice is closer today not simply because of this verdict, but because of their work.’

The couple concluded the statement by sending their prayers to the Floyd family, saying they ‘stand shoulder-to-shoulder with all those who are committed to guaranteeing every American the full measure of justice that George and so many others have been denied.’

THE OBAMAS’ STATEMENT IN FULL

Today, a jury in Minneapolis did the right thing.

For almost a year, George Floyd’s death under the knee of a police officer has reverberated around the world — inspiring murals and marches, sparking conversations in living rooms and new legislation. But a more basic question has always remained: would justice be done?

In this case, at least, we have our answer. But if we’re being honest with ourselves, we know that true justice is about much more than a single verdict in a single trial.

True justice requires that we come to terms with the fact that Black Americans are treated differently, every day. It requires us to recognize that millions of our friends, family, and fellow citizens live in fear that their next encounter with law enforcement could be their last. And it requires us to do the sometimes thankless, often difficult, but always necessary work of making the America we know more like the America we believe in.

While today’s verdict may have been a necessary step on the road to progress, it was far from a sufficient one. We cannot rest. We will need to follow through with the concrete reforms that will reduce and ultimately eliminate racial bias in our criminal justice system. We will need to redouble efforts to expand economic opportunity for those communities that have been too long marginalized.

And as we continue the fight, we can draw strength from the millions of people — especially young people — who have marched and protested and spoken up over the last year, shining a light on inequity and calling for change. Justice is closer today not simply because of this verdict, but because of their work.

Michelle and I send our prayers to the Floyd family, in the hopes that they may find peace. And we stand shoulder-to-shoulder with all those who are committed to guaranteeing every American the full measure of justice that George and so many others have been denied.



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