It is hard to believe that it has already been eight years since many African Americans braved frigid temperatures in the nation’s Capitol to personally witness the inauguration of the first black president in U.S. history.
As President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama prepare to close out their historic eight-year stay in the White House, they take a reprieve from their dizzying daily schedules and sit down with Essence magazine for a bit of introspection, reflection and what influence they hope they’ve had over young black kids nationwide:
“…I can unequivocally say that America is better off now than we were when we came into office. By almost every economic measure, we’re better off,” President Obama declared to the magazine. “But having said that, we still have a lot of work to do.”
For the first lady, she believes their presence in the White House will have an indelible impression on the younger generation:
“I think when it comes to black kids, it means something for them to have spent most of their life seeing the family in the White House look like them,” Michelle Obama said. “It matters. All the future work that Barack talked about, I think over these last few years, we’ve kind of knocked the ceiling of limitation off the roofs of many young kids; imaginations of what’s possible for them. And as a mother, I wouldn’t underestimate how important that is, having that vision that you can really do anything—not because somebody told you, but because you’ve seen and experienced it. I think that will be a lasting impact on our kids.”
President Obama lists My Brother’s Keeper, a program he launched to empower boys and young men of color, as one of the signature endeavors of his two-term presidency.
“For me, things like My Brother’s Keeper,” he said. “That’s something I’m confident we’ll be continuing after we leave.”