In his beloved Chicago on Tuesday, January 10, Barrack Obama gave his final remarks about his presidency to an audience of 24 million people, who listened in rapture as he began a tearful tribute to his loving and supportive family, thanking his wife Michelle and two teenage daughters Sasha and Malia for “keeping him honest” and “making him a better man.”
Obama reminisced about his journey to the White House, crediting Chicagoans for allowing him to “witness the power of faith, and the quiet dignity of working people in the face of struggle and loss” and teaching him “that change only happens when ordinary people get involved, get engaged, and come together to demand it.”
Quoting Harper Lee’s Atticus Finch: “’You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view . . . until you climb into his skin and walk around in it,” Obama noted it is too easy for most of us to “retreat to our own bubble” and “accept[ing] only information, whether true or not, that fits our opinions,” but doing these things will not allow us to move forward as a unified nation.
With this, he encouraged all Americans, minorities, refugees, immigrants, rich, poor, and LGBT+ to find common ground and compromise with others to aid the dissolution of discrimination and stereotypes.
Sophomore Aylah Mendenhall said Obama’s message resonated with her most deeply.
Mendenhall said, “When Obama was talking about the future and how he feels like they are in good hands because the next generations want to create a better world, made me put aside my fear for a moment. I, in that moment, had hope and for the first time I truly accepted his iconic words for myself: ‘Yes We Can.’”