The White House Blog: The First Lady

  • What You Might Have Missed This Week:

    This week, President Obama addressed the crash of Flight MH17, talked about investing in our country's infrastructure, and continued to take important steps to respond to a changing climate -- and the First Lady hosted the Kids' State Dinner, featuring 54 delicious recipes from around the country.

    Check out what else you may have missed in this week's wrap up.


    President Obama on the Crash of Flight MH17

    Today, President Obama delivered a statement to the press in the wake of the tragic crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17:

    Yesterday, Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 took off from Amsterdam and was shot down over Ukraine near the Russian border. Nearly 300 innocent lives were taken -- men, women, children, infants -- who had nothing to do with the crisis in Ukraine. Their deaths are an outrage of unspeakable proportions.

    Watch on YouTube

    President Obama noted that this was "a global tragedy -- an Asian airliner was destroyed in European skies, filled with citizens from many countries." And as a result, there now needs to be a credible, international investigation into exactly what happened.


  • Tune In: Watch the Kids' State Dinner Live!

    This morning at 11:25 a.m. ET, we'll be streaming the 2014 Kids' State Dinner live from the White House.

    And you can watch it all right here.

    More than 1,500 entries were submitted this year, featuring wholesome and tasty ingredients such as squash, ground turkey, salmon, and kale. Watch the winning recipes being selected for the 2014 Kids' State Dinner below -- and tune in to the Kids' State Dinner live today at 11:25 a.m. ET.

    Watch on YouTube


  • The First Lady Attends the Unite for Veterans Summit

    First Lady Michelle Obama talks with L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti

    First Lady Michelle Obama talks with L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti backstage before the Veterans Homelessness event in Los Angeles, Calif., July 16, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

    Today, First Lady Michelle Obama delivered the keynote speech during the Unite for Veterans Summit in Los Angeles. The summit, which gathered local officials, service providers, researchers, and funders, identified best practices in housing and employment for veterans and their families, and was a shining example of community collaboration.

    The event — co-hosted by the United Way of Greater Los Angeles, the University of Southern California, and the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco — gave Los Angeles community leaders an opportunity to learn about the issues impacting veterans and their families, and to accept the challenge of addressing and ending them. As one formerly homeless veteran noted, "We are here to do whatever it takes for as long as it takes.”


  • Tune In: The First Lady Speaks at the Unite for Veterans Summit

    Ed. note: This live event has concluded.

    Today at 2:15 p.m. ET, First Lady Michelle Obama will deliver the keynote address at the Unite for Veterans Summit in Los Angeles, an event hosted by United Way of Greater Los Angeles, the Federal Reserve Bank, and the University of Southern California. 

    As part of the Joining Forces Initiative, the First Lady is teaming up with Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti to highlight the importance of aiding veterans as they transition into the next phase of their lives. Mayor Garcetti has joined the Mayors Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness by the end of 2015.

    Watch the First Lady's remarks right here starting at 2:15 p.m. ET:

    Watch on YouTube


  • The First Lady's Message to the United States-China Consultation on People-to-People Exchange

    First Lady Michelle Obama and Madam Peng are greeted by a group of students as they leave the Beijing Normal School in Beijing, China

    First Lady Michelle Obama and Madam Peng are greeted by a group of students as they leave the Beijing Normal School in Beijing, China, March 21, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)

    This March, First Lady Michelle Obama traveled to China with her mother and her daughters, Malia and Sasha Obama. Mrs. Obama’s trip to China underscored the mutual emphasis placed on education by the U.S. and China and the importance of cultural exchanges between each nation’s youth. While there, the First Lady met with students from both countries and explained that the defining challenges of our time - from climate change to economic opportunity – are shared challenges that the next generation will need to solve by working together across borders.

    This week, the U.S. and China held meetings for the sixth round of the Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED), and the fifth annual Consultation on People-to-People Exchange (CPE) in Beijing. The S&ED, which was co-led by Secretary of State John Kerry and Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew, focused on addressing shared strategic and economic challenges and opportunities. The CPE, which was led by Secretary Kerry, focused on strengthening ties between the two peoples through cultural, scientific, educational, and technological exchange. The First Lady delivered a message to the CPE, which was read by her Chief of Staff Tina Tchen, who is serving as the Women’s Pillar Lead for the U.S.-China People-to-People Exchange.

    You can read the full message from First Lady Michelle Obama here and below:

    Good Morning.  I am pleased to send my warmest greetings to all those gathered at the opening of the fifth round of the United States-China Consultation on People-to-People Exchange (CPE) in Beijing, China.  I would like to send my thanks to President Xi Jinping, Vice Premier Liu Yandong, and the entire Chinese delegation for hosting the United States’ delegation this year.


  • Fourth of July 2014 at the White House

    First Lady Michelle Obama, Malia Obama, and President Obama watch the Fourth of July fireworks

    First Lady Michelle Obama, left, Malia Obama and President Barack Obama watch the Fourth of July fireworks from the roof of the White House, July 4, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

    Yesterday, true to tradition, the President and First Lady celebrated the Fourth of July by hosting military heroes and their families for an Independence Day celebration with a barbecue, concert, and a view of fireworks on the South Lawn.


  • West Wing Week 07/04/14 or, “Cynicism is a Choice… Hope is a Better Choice”

    This week, the President wrapped up a trip to Minneapolis, nominated a new VA Secretary, and caught some World Cup fever. 


  • Experience the White House Kitchen Garden!

    Ed. note: This is cross-posted on the Let's Move blog. See the original post here.

    In keeping with the President and First Lady's commitment to open the People's House to as many people as possible, tours of the White House Kitchen Garden are back and now available to community organizations as well as school groups with an interest in gardening and healthy eating. Come smell the beautiful, brightly colored fruits and vegetables in the Kitchen Garden, including herbs grown from Thomas Jefferson's garden at Monticello; see the vibrant flowers in the Pollinator Garden; and hear the bees buzzing around the White House Beehive.

    Nestled on the White House South Lawn, the Kitchen Garden is home to different fruits, vegetables, and herbs each growing season. The First Lady planted the White House Kitchen Garden in 2009 to initiate a national conversation around the health and wellbeing of our nation and to serve as an inspiration for schools and community groups across the country to plant gardens of their own. Now nearly five years later, the Kitchen Garden is as healthy as ever and is an example of just how easy it is to plant a garden in your backyard, school, or community space.

    So if you haven’t already started your own garden, click here to check out the Let’s Move! Gardening Guide, which has all the information you need to get planting!


  • First Lady Michelle Obama to DC-CAP Graduates: "Despite It All, You Chose to Succeed"

    First Lady Michelle Obama delivers remarks during DC College Access Program graduation celebration

    First Lady Michelle Obama delivers remarks during the DC College Access Program graduation celebration of former DC-CAP students who received college degrees this spring, in Washington D.C., June 19, 2014. DC-CAP is a private, nonprofit organization dedicated to helping D.C. high school students prepare for, enroll in, and graduate from college. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

    Rhia Hardman, whose father and stepmother were both crack addicts, had to survive sometimes as a child without water or electricity. And Rashema Melson, whose family has been homeless for years, experienced times when she didn't have clean clothes to wear to school.

    But today, Rhia is a graduate with honors from Virginia State University. And Rashema, who just graduated as the valedictorian of her class, is attending Georgetown University this fall on a full scholarship.

    And as the First Lady said at last night's DC College Access Program graduation celebration, Rhia and Rashema aren't the only ones with similar stories of struggle and success.

    "So many of you have stories just like these," Mrs. Obama told the graduates. "Stories of families who couldn’t support you, of communities where you weren’t safe, schools that maybe didn’t always live up to your promise. But ultimately, despite it all, you chose to succeed."


  • Recognizing the Importance of Summer Learning Day

    Ed. note: This is posted on the U.S. Department of Education's blog. See the original post here.

    Today we join hundreds of communities and programs across the country in celebrating National Summer Learning Day, a recognized national advocacy day to spread awareness about the importance of summer learning to our nation’s youth—specifically, in helping close the achievement gap and supporting healthy development.

    Summer learning is everywhere; it’s happening in cities and towns all across the country. Today in Fayetteville, NC, the local university is opening its doors to local youth to learn about its College Readiness Summer Institute and how they can participate. In Louisville, KY, Mayor Greg Fischer joined other prominent local figures to kick off Every 1 Learns, a citywide summer learning effort designed to provide access to academic support and meaningful work experience for Louisville youth.

    Find more summer learning opportunities across the country on our interactive Summer Learning Day Map.

    Last month, I blogged on HomeRoom about how families can keep their teens learning and preparing for college and careers this summer. A few weeks later, First Lady Michelle Obama joined students in San Antonio to highlight her college access initiative Reach Higher. She is supporting President Obama’s “North Star” goal of returning the U.S. to being the leader in college graduates by 2020. One of the core solutions in achieving that goal is summer learning. The National Summer Learning Association (NSLA) is excited to partner with the First Lady in helping teens “Reach Higher” all summer long and beyond.

    Today it is a true honor to share the stage with the First Lady at the U.S. Department of Education to celebrate National Summer Learning Day. Bringing together high school students and education leaders from across the country, our event highlights the critical role summer learning plays in preparing young people for successful college entry and completion.

    The First Lady and other guests will see and hear from young people about the incredible things they learned last summer, like how to write a personal statement, teach and mentor younger youth, dance, cook healthy meals, apply for financial aid, and even dissect a sheep brain.

    The 100 youth joining us today have the opportunity of a lifetime to participate in exemplary programs, and we hope to extend that opportunity to all young people who need and want that experience. Across the country, we’re beginning to see school districts partner with institutions of higher education and other nonprofits to offer rigorous coursework, counseling, and meaningful work experience for young people in the summer, and it’s changing lives.

    There’s great reason to believe that summer learning opportunities can increase college access and completion among first generation college students. We’re thrilled that Mrs. Obama has taken notice of the importance of summer learning, and we’re honored to work with her on such an important issue for our nation’s youth.

    Sarah Pitcock is CEO of the National Summer Learning Association.