Dear Michelle Obama,
The former First Lady of the United States. Wow, I cannot believe I'm uttering these words. Even though I knew you could be First Lady for only eight years, this all happened more quickly than expected.
In the last month, I have seen some beautiful tributes to you and your amazing family. My social media feeds have been flooded with your words and actions, from starting a campaign to help kids across the country eat healthier, to launching the Let Girls Learn education initiative to help girls around the world attend and stay in school. Throughout your time as First Lady, you truly put #KindnessInAction. You showed through your words and actions that you have the deepest of love in your heart for all Americans.
Since I saw you become First Lady when I was nine years old, I have truly been inspired to go out into my community to create change. Last year in my high school, I created and led an assembly where the whole school came together to talk about LGBTQ issues. Without you and your husband's support of LGBTQ students, this would most likely not have been possible.
During the 2016 election season, America became more divided as people argued about what path the country should take. The most memorable point for me was when you stated, “When they go low, we go high.” I remember sitting in my room contemplating what this meant. As a member of GLSEN’S National Student Council, GLSEN’s national student leadership team, I advocate for LGBTQ students across the country. With your words in mind, I worked to show teens at my school that we must keep our heads up and continue fighting for all students, no matter who’s President.
In your last speech as First Lady, you made a plea to students to not “be afraid” but to “lead by example with hope.” I promise you that I’m listening, because I know that the future depends on my generation. Once again, thank you from the bottom of my heart for the hard work, dedication, and passion you have given to this country. I will lead by example and be the next generation to change the world.
P.S. Michelle Obama has inspired me by putting #KindnessInAction. Show support for LGBTQ students and help build GLSEN’s wall of kindness by sharing a story of someone who showed you #KindessInAction at school.
Danny Charney is a member of GLSEN’s National Student Council.