Yes, We Still Can

Yes, We Still Can

Michelle Obama's words are the empowerment we need.
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After a rough political week, it’s nice to remember the more favorable role models the White House has given us.

On July 25th, former First Lady Michelle Obama made her largest appearance since the 2016 election, speaking at The Women’s Foundation of Colorado before an audience of over eight thousand. The Foundation seeks to empower and provide greater economic opportunities for women in Colorado. Their 30th fundraising anniversary was a more-than-appropriate platform for Mrs. Obama.

In conversation with President and CEO Lauren Y. Casteel, Mrs. Obama largely steered clear of politics, and instead provided her perspective on empowering women from a young age. She stressed constant reminders of worth and of capability: “It’s their mothers, teachers, siblings, and their fathers and the men around them who every day can lift them up. Don’t underestimate the power of day-to-day motivation and inspiration in a girl’s life.”

Many of the issues are personally important to her rise. She encourages equal opportunities for women in STEM fields, criticizes the idea of an education which values the speed of learning, and per her early days as First Lady, supports better nutrition and health systems for children.

Her most poignant words, however, surround her experiences as a black woman in a position of power. Casteel lauds her as having shattered a glass ceiling by being the first black woman to hold the First Lady title. But what of the falling glass shards?

Mrs. Obama states, “The shards that cut me the deepest were the ones that intended to cut.” She continues, “Knowing that after eight years of working really hard for this country, there are still people who won’t see me for what I am because of my skin color.”

The number of rude, racist, and sexist criticisms the former First Lady received are countless. She asks that women rise above; to wear their scars proudly and to own them, lest those who inflict them go blameless. She affirms that she is “a strong woman because of other strong women.” Togetherness is crucial to her message. She references the power of a message like “Yes We Can,” which encourages collectively fixing the issues that face us.

Resoundingly, she claims: “I want to live in a world that cares for its women. I hope that we can create a world where women are safe. At the core, I want girls to feel safety as they move about the world.”

This, given the past week, extends to any marginalized group. Mrs. Obama speaks on behalf of those that have encountered barriers, and to those whose barriers have yet to be broken. Her message comes at a time more important than ever before; when human rights are denied and discrimination is systematized, safety and care are the work of us all.

Cover Image Credit: U.S. Department of Agriculture / Flickr

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To The Teacher Who Was So Much More

Thank you for everything
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I think it's fair to say that most people remember at least one teacher who had a lasting impact on them. I have been incredibly lucky to have several teachers who I will never forget, but one individual takes the cake. So here's to you: thank you for all you have done.

Thank you for teaching me lessons not just in the textbook.

Although you taught a great lecture, class was never just limited to the contents of the course. Debates and somewhat heated conversations would arise between classmates over politics and course material, and you always encouraged open discussion. You embraced the idea of always having an opinion, and always making it be heard, because why waste your voice? You taught me to fight for things I believed in, and to hold my ground in an argument. You taught me to always think of others before doing and speaking. You showed me the power of kindness. Thank you for all the important lessons that may not have been included in the curriculum.

Thank you for believing in me.

Especially in my senior year, you believed in me when other teachers didn't. You showed me just what I could accomplish with a positive and strong attitude. Your unwavering support kept me going, especially when I melted into a puddle of tears weekly in your office. You listened to my stupid complaints, understood my overwhelming stress-induced breakdowns, and told me it was going to be okay. Thank you for always being there for me.

Thank you for inspiring me.

You are the epitome of a role model. Not only are you intelligent and respected, but you have a heart of gold and emit beautiful light where ever you go. You showed me that service to others should not be looked at as a chore, but something to enjoy and find yourself in. And I have found myself in giving back to people, thanks to your spark. Thank you for showing me, and so many students, just how incredible one person can be.

Thank you for changing my life.

Without you, I truly would not be where I am today. As cliche as it sounds, you had such a remarkable impact on me and my outlook on life. Just about a year has passed since my graduation, and I'm grateful to still keep in touch. I hope you understand the impact you have made on me, and on so many other students. You are amazing, and I thank you for all you have done.

Cover Image Credit: Amy Aroune

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Who is On The Shortlist For Supreme Court Justice?

President Trump gets to decide.

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Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy is retiring. Kennedy has been on the bench since 1988, after being nominated by President Ronald Reagan in 1987. Kennedy has been the swing vote on the court in many key 5-4 decisions. He has played an important role in many cases, including Citizens United v. FEC, Planned Parenthood v. Casey, and Obergefell v. Hodges. The Constitution of the United States requires that the President must select a nominee when a seat is open. The nominee is then confirmed by the U.S. Senate.



President Trump will now have an opportunity to put another Supreme Court Justice on the bench. He nominated Neil Gorsuch to fill Antonin Scalia's seat. Gorsuch took the oath of office in April of 2017. The Constitution says that justices will remain on the bench for life or when they decide to retire. The next man or women to take the oath will serve for many years to come. Their impact will shape history and the nation. So, who's in the running? Who is the President considering? Trump will make his announcement on July 9th and everyone wants to know who is on the shortlist.

The Washington Post and the New York Times reported that President Trump met with four candidates on July 2nd, one week before his announcement of a nominee. The President met with four federal appeals court judges. They were Amy Coney Barret of the Seventh Circuit, Brett M. Kavanaugh of the District of Columbia Circuit, Raymond M. Kethledge of the Sixth Circuit, and Amul R. Thapar of the Sixth Circuit.

The president has expressed great interest in nominating a woman to the Supreme Court. Should he nominate Amy Barret from the Seventh Circuit, she would join Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Elena Kagan, and Sonia Sotomayor, as the fourth woman on the bench. Barret is a favorite among religious conservatives and clerked for Justice Scalia.

Kavanaugh was appointed by President George W. Bush and clerked for Justice Kennedy. Kethledge also clerked for Justice Kennedy and is a graduate of the University of Michigan Law School. Judge Thapar was President Trump's nominee for an appeals court in 2017. Thapar was also considered by Trump to fill Justice Scalia's seat in 2017. Whoever the president appoints, they would surely be confirmed by the Senate, which is a Republican majority Senate. How will Democratic leader Chuck Schumer and other Democrats react to the announcement? And what questions will be asked at the Senate hearings?



The Supreme Court is the highest court in the land. President Trump will make history again by nominating a second judge in his first term. Justice Kennedy's retirement will be official on July 31st, 2018. After the President's announcement on July 9th preparations for Senate hearings will begin. As stated earlier, the next Justice of the Supreme Court will have a major impact and may change the course of history.

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