A good story helps us see the world outside of ourselves. It can help us feel a sort of solidarity with each other. And it’s one of our biggest goals with the stories we’re going to tell with Higher Ground. Part of this project is trying to make the world a little bit better for all our children and grandchildren. Because if we can put some better stories out there and make sure were hearing each other, we’re going to see a generation that is more tolerant, more inclusive, and better equipped to take on the challenges we face. Higher Ground’s first film, American Factory, is a complicated story with no easy solutions. But to me, it shows the value in recognizing someone else’s perspective. So take a look at our conversation with the directors, and check out American Factory on Netflix.
It's August, so I wanted to let you know about a few books I've been reading this summer, in case you're looking for some suggestions. To start, you can't go wrong by reading or re-reading the collected works of Toni Morrison. Beloved, Song of Solomon, The Bluest Eye, Sula, everything else — they're transcendent, all of them. You’ll be glad you read them. And while I’m at it, here are a few more titles you might want to explore.
Some things change — like my taste in khakis and polo shirts — but Bud Billiken endures. For 90 years, the Bud Billiken parade has brought people together to celebrate the rich history and culture of Chicago’s South Side. I am proud the @ObamaFoundation team is out there representing our next chapter today as we work to bring the Obama Presidential Center to life and empower the next generation of leaders.
Time is no match for Toni Morrison. In her writing, she sometimes toyed with it, warping and creasing it, bending it to her masterful will. In her life’s story, too, she treated time nontraditionally. A child of the Great Migration who’d lifted up new, more diverse voices in American literature as an editor, Toni didn’t publish her first novel until she was 39 years old. From there followed an ascendant career—a Pulitzer, a Nobel, and so much more—and with it, a fusion of the African American story within the American story. Toni Morrison was a national treasure. Her writing was not just beautiful but meaningful—a challenge to our conscience and a call to greater empathy. She was as good a storyteller, as captivating, in person as she was on the page. And so even as Michelle and I mourn her loss and send our warmest sympathies to her family and friends, we know that her stories—that our stories—will always be with us, and with those who come after, and on and on, for all time.
Recent court decisions make it clear that the change we need to restore our democracy has to come from the ground up. @Allontheline’s work to ensure a fair and accurate census count and achieve fair maps in 2021 has never been more important. Join us today at the link in my bio.
Over the years, you've probably seen Michelle's mom, Marian Robinson, in photos with our family at inaugurations, Christmas tree lightings, Easter Egg Rolls, and a whole lot more. But what you haven't seen is the way she's been there for us every day—not just for Michelle and our daughters, but for me, too. I've always appreciated her steadiness, her perspective, and the way a wisecrack from her reverberates around the room. Happy birthday, Marian—here's to many more.
#MandelaDay reminds us that when things feel dark, confusing, or impossible—take a look back at his writings. There, we see how a belief in the dignity of every person can be made real, an unwavering hope to steel us along our own long walks toward something better.
I have a good feeling about these Chicago @UrbanAlliance interns. Thanks for letting me spend time with you—you’re going to go on to do incredible things and make many people proud. In fact, you already have.
If you’re going to change the world, start with serving your community. No matter what you’re trying to accomplish, lending a hand and listening to your neighbor will make you a better leader—and a better person. That’s why, as part of the @ObamaFoundation Leaders: Africa program, hundreds of regional leaders spent the day painting murals, gardening, and putting together gift packs for students in need at a local school in Johannesburg. These folks make me so proud.
Proud to rep America’s best team! Congrats @USWNT and thanks for being such a strong inspiration for women and girls—and everybody—all across the country.
In my farewell address in Chicago three years ago, I said something I still firmly believe today: Being a citizen is the most important job in our democracy. If you’re tired of politicians manipulating electoral maps and ignoring the will of voters, I hope you’ll exercise your power as a citizen by signing @allontheline’s Citizen Commitment today.