Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Highlighting former first lady

“Go, Tell Michelle,” was a special event organized by the Educational Opportunity Program to pay tribute and honor to the former first lady Michelle Obama. It was held this past Sunday at 7 p.m. in the Krinovitz auditorium located in Hawkins Hall. EOP opened the event to submissions such as letters, poems or musical tributes, which led to a diverse set of performances.

The event began with Kyla Relaford, the director of The Educational Opportunity Program introducing what inspired the creation of the occasion. A book titled “Go, Tell Michelle : African American Women Write to the New First Lady,” is a collection of letters written to Obama. The book pays tribute to Obama with the passionate and personal letters it presents.

The performances of the night were each unique and creative with poems of personal struggles to expressive dance. Student organizations like KINKS spoke several times on educational components of Obama’s life and her achievements before becoming first lady. After them, the Organization for Women of Ethnicity delivered an impressive spoken word.

“Events like this make people more aware and show different perspectives on topics,” said Tyniquia Jones, a chemistry major who attended the event.

The groups that performed gave insight on Michelle and aspects of her life not commonly known to some. Then to center in on the topic even more, Relaford read letters from the book that prompted the event. Another successful performance of the night was an originally choreographed dance by Jeremy Rosario. Then, later on, Dance Corp performed an original choreography dance, as well that had many dancers on stage perfectly in sync with each other and the music.

“Everybody spoke to how passionate and how much of a voice she gave to those who don’t feel like they have a voice. For example women of color may feel like they don’t have a voice, she gave it to them,” said Cassie Christman a counselor at EOP.

Obama being the first African American first lady in the white house was also greatly impactful for some. People can be inspired by her drive and ambition and for the first time relate to someone who actually looks like them.

The night had a special beat-boxing performance by a student, as well as a powerful spoken word by the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity. The spoken word was personal accounts of struggle and how Michelle’s achievements inspired them to strive and achieve their goals.

“She is someone to look up to, being such an empowering women and how she stays positive in the face of adversity at all times,” said Yadira Lopez a sociology major.

“My favorite Michelle quote is ‘When they go low, we go high.’” Michelle’s character and strength is something to look up to for many people. As first lady, she proposed many beneficial reforms to school’s education wise and health wise. Her work impacted citizens in positive ways, and her eight year in the White House were successfully spent.

The event concluded with two personal letters one by a Plattsburgh community member and one by PSUC staff Cassie Christman. Both letters follow the mood set by the book that inspired the event. Although Michelle Obama could not attend the event herself, most likely due to her busy schedule, elements of it are going to be sent to her. “Go, Tell Michelle,” was a great addition to this year’s Diversity Week.

Email Whitney Leonardo at news@cardinalpointsonline.com

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