The following is an open letter to First Lady Michelle Obama, written by the teaching staff at Gompers.
Department of Education
City of New York
Samuel Gompers Career & Technical High School
455 Southern Blvd. Bronx, NY 10455-4966
Joyce Mills-Kittrell William J. Doyle Principal Assistant Principal
April 13, 2010
Dearest First Lady Obama,
We cannot begin to tell you how exhilarated we are that you are the First Lady, the first mother of our United States of America. We are certain that you have heard it before, but we must once again echo these very same sentiments. You are truly the epitome of grace, beauty and elegance. You are truly the embodiment of intelligence, generosity and maternal love. Because of all that you are, all that you represent and all that you can do, we would like to invite you to our 2010 commencement ceremony as our keynote speaker. Your arrival to our humble auditorium will shape lives and give dreams to minds that have been too afraid to think, too frightened to imagine, too desolate to hope, and too demonized to excel.
We have chosen you, Mrs. Obama, because when we think of you, we envision you, first and foremost, as Sasha and Malia’s mom. But we also envision you as the mother of every child in this great country of ours. And it is in this spirit that we have composed this letter to you. Dearest mother of all American children, especially those who are poor, desperate, uneducated, unfortunate and lack direction – we beseech you to give a hand up to the children of the South Bronx at Samuel Gompers High School. Dearest mother, purest of heart and purest of soul, concerning your dear children and their education, we yearn to enter into the greatest of dialogues with you. Our community hungers for your example as an accomplished woman, a wife, a mother and an emblem of love, generosity and service.
At our school, the numbers are not in favor of the girls of color, particularly of African-American girls. We somehow need to inspire them to be audacious enough to hope and to do. We need to foster in them a sense of self-worth, a purpose and an attitude of “I can do anything I set my mind to.” We happen to think that you are the perfect woman of color to convince them that the ability to dream, hard work and a little conviction are the very ne plus ultra of self-realization and actualization. For, in the South Bronx and our school, the attainment of the whole self proves to be an arduous task because the community itself is so broken, and as a student of sociology, we need not tell you that we are a product of our environment. Hence, a fragmented community can only produce fractured individuals. And it is these fractured young individuals that we seek to mold and make whole as adults. At the very least, we endeavor to give them the foundation that will allow that process to take place.
It is for these reasons that we are reaching out to you, the President, the US Department of Education and the nation at large. Hopefully, together, we may find a viable solution to rescue our dying youth in the urban areas of this nation. And so, as you probably already know, we have entered ourselves in the social database of the White House to come sing our desires and our hopes to you and your husband as the mother and the father of these lovely children whose futures are sealed a little bit too soon.
We long to sing and dance with you in a magical duet of simple, but thorough rhythmic steps that only you, from the Southside of Chicago, can perform. For, you understand our sorrows. You understand our trials and tribulations. You understand our fears, our helplessness, and our hopelessness. And it is because you do understand that we do want you on our podium, singing to us in your fashion songs of hope, songs of upliftment, and songs of mental liberty. Do come sing to our hearts songs of confidence, songs of worth, songs of strength, songs of empowerment, and songs of a better tomorrow. Do come sing to our minds songs of transformation and songs of an intimate partnership between us as we construct and build the bridges of development.
Mrs. Obama, our dear mother, our dearest sister, we know you are busy and we do not want to take any more of your time. We hope to receive an agreeable response from you. Moreover, we hope to greet you in our building on the morning of Friday, June 25th, 2010 to inspire our 2010 class as we send them out into the real world, armed with your words of wisdom and your vision of their roles in a more productive and compassionate America. In the meantime, Mrs. Obama, we wish you a joyous, healthy, fertile and successful first term as our First Lady. Please embrace tightly Sasha, Malia, and the President on our behalf. We hope to soon meet them as well.
United in the struggle and respectfully,
Farah Despeignes, English teacher
Alice Soler, Social Studies teacher
Carla LaChapelle, English teacher
Joyce Mills-Kittrell, Principal
P.S. Please give us a date to come perform for you and the President as we are now in the database of White House performers.