The White House Blog: The First Lady

  • Expanding Opportunity for Native Youth

    Last week, folks from a broad range of diverse backgrounds came together at the White House to discuss a common goal: improving the lives of Native youth. Over a hundred nonprofit and philanthropic leaders, tribal leaders, Native youth, and members of the President’s Cabinet joined the dialogue. We heard devastating stories and statistics from young people and research experts about the high rates of unemployment, domestic violence, and homelessness in many Native communities.

    But, we also heard stories of hope. Nonprofit, philanthropic, federal agency, and tribal leaders discussed the work they are doing to create opportunities for Native young people to use their intellect and perseverance to achieve great things. Native youth shared stories about strengthening their communities through public service and community engagement. Members of the President’s Cabinet described the importance of new Federal investments in education, health, and economic development in Indian Country.

    The First Lady provided remarks and talked about her visit to the Standing Rock Sioux Nation last June. She described her visit with the President to Cannon Ball, North Dakota -- part of the Standing Rock Sioux Nation -- and the pride, courage, determination, and maturity she witnessed there. And, with those ideals in mind, she noted both the urgency and value of investing in Native youth.


  • @JoiningForces is Answering Your Questions to Celebrate Its 4th Anniversary

    The First Lady and Dr. Jill Biden launched Joining Forces in April 2011 to call on Americans across the country to rally around service members, veterans, and their families.

    This month, Joining Forces is celebrating its fourth anniversary! We're talking about how we can inspire, educate, and spark action from all sectors of society to ensure service members, veterans, and their families have the tools they need to succeed throughout their lives.

    Want to join the conversation? We'll be focusing on specific themes throughout the month. Around each theme, the Joining Forces team will be hosting a Twitter chat to answer your questions on mental health, homelessness, employment, and education -- and hear from you.

    Ask your questions and join the conversation now using the hashtags below, and we'll answer from @JoiningForces on the day of the chat!


  • Celebrating Gospel Music: "Where Their Dreams Took Flight"

    The President and First Lady hosted music legends and top gospel artists at the White House yesterday for the latest installment of “In Performance at the White House.” The evening of musical performances paid tribute to the fundamental role that gospel music has played in shaping American history and culture.

    “Gospel music has evolved over time, but its heart stays true," the President said. “It still has an unmatched power to strike the deepest chord in all of us.”

    Watch the President’s full remarks here:

    Watch on YouTube


  • Week In Review: Banning Conversion Therapy, a Town Hall in Jamaica, and the Easter Egg Roll

    This week, the President supported efforts to ban the use of conversion therapy for minors, participated in a roundtable focused on how climate change is harming our health, traveled to Jamaica to hold a town hall with students and meet with CARICOM, and joined the First Lady in hosting the annual White House Easter Egg Roll.

    Find out more about the past week in our latest weekly wrap-up.


    Why We Support Banning Conversion Therapy

    More than 120,000 people signed a petition calling for a ban on the dangerous and unacceptable practice of conversion therapy -- and on Wednesday, we responded. The overwhelming scientific evidence demonstrates that conversion therapy is neither medically or ethically appropriate and can cause substantial harm. That’s why the Obama administration supports efforts to ban the use of conversion therapy for minors.


  • In Pictures: The White House Easter Egg Roll

    President Obama and the First Lady welcomed more than 35,000 guests to the South Lawn of the White House for the 137th annual White House Easter Egg Roll. This year’s theme was #GimmeFive to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the First Lady’s Let’s Move! initiative. Take a look at the big day in photos:

    The Easter Bunny joins guests in the Red Room prior to the annual Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn of the White House, April 6, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

    The Easter Bunny joins guests in the Red Room prior to the annual Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn of the White House, April 6, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)


    President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama take photos at the Instagram #GimmeFive photo booth in the East Room prior to the Easter Egg Roll. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

    President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama take photos at the Instagram #GimmeFive photo booth in the East Room prior to the Easter Egg Roll. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)



  • It All Started With a Letter: Six Special Guests at the Easter Egg Roll

    The President and First Lady are hosting the 137th annual Easter Egg Roll today, a White House tradition full of music and activities. Throughout the day, more than 35,000 visitors will pass through the South Lawn and have the opportunity to get active with the First Lady’s Let’s Move initiative, listen to stories, and even pick up some healthy eating tips from special guest chefs.

    Six of these visitors began their journey to the White House by writing a letter to the President. Every day, the President reads 10 letters from Americans all across the country and takes time to write some of these letter-writers back. Jordan, Jaylon, Rodney, Sofia, Zach, and Annikah are students who not only received a response from the President, but also got an invite to this year’s Easter Egg Roll.

    Meet these six special guests and read their letters to the President: 

    Jordan G., Independence, KY

    Seven-year-old Jordan wrote to share some good news with the President. In his letter, Jordan told the President that he’s getting adopted. After having been a foster child for six years, Jordan says he has finally found his "forever family."

    I have two dads named Jeremy and Matt that are keeping me forever. I know you can’t come to my adoption, but I wanted to tell you thank you for everything that you are doing to keep me safe.

    Jordan G. Letter Writer Photo


  • The White House Easter Egg Roll Goes Social

    Today, the President and First Lady will host more than 35,000 people at the 137th-annual White House Easter Egg Roll. And, we’re excited to bring you new ways to experience the fun of the South Lawn from anywhere.

    For the first time ever, the White House and Snapchat are teaming up on an Easter Egg Roll "Our Story." Snapchatters on the South Lawn are invited to share their experience in Snaps with access to special Easter Egg Roll filters. Through the Snapchat app, anyone around the world can experience the live event as it happens with behind-the-scenes photos and videos.

    To celebrate the fifth anniversary of the First Lady’s Let’s Move! initiative, this year’s Easter Egg Roll theme is #GimmeFive – and Mrs. Obama is challenging Americans across the country to share five things they’re doing to eat better, stay active, and lead a healthier life. Though Instagram's photo booth experience, you can get an exclusive glimpse on the First Lady's Instagram, @MichelleObama. Performers, athletes, and families will join the First Lady’s #GimmeFive call to action – and you won’t want to miss it.


  • Celebrating Passover at the White House

    President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama host a Passover Seder dinner in the Old Family Dining Room

    President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama host a Passover Seder dinner in the Old Family Dining Room of the White House, April 3, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

    For the seventh year in a row, President and Mrs. Obama hosted the annual White House Seder. The Seder provides an opportunity for the First Family to join in retelling the story of the Israelites’ arduous journey through the desert from slavery in Egypt to liberation in the Promised Land. In recounting the story, they joined their guests in performing the Seder rituals and followed the Haggadah’s command that we see ourselves as though we personally were liberated from Egypt. And they acknowledged how this story has inspired generations of Americans in the struggle for civil rights.

    This year’s Seder continued a new tradition of having a guest chef. Susan Barocas, one of the inaugural guest chefs from last year – and Washington-based filmmaker and foodie – returned again this year to assist White House Chef Cris Comerford with the meal and brought new additions to the menu, including Moroccan Haroset Balls from the Sephardic tradition, and dishes emphasizing seasonal ingredients, including beets, squash, spring onions, radishes, arugula, potatoes, and sweet potatoes. These recipes were combined with family recipes provided by several of the Seder’s attendees.


  • Week in Review: A Historic Announcement on Iran, a Dedication in Boston, and a Commitment to Fairness

    This week, the President made a historic announcement on Iran, helped dedicate the new Edward M. Kennedy Institute in Boston, granted 22 commutations for those impacted by unjust and outdated drug sentencing laws, traveled to Louisville to see a job training program in action, and held a roundtable in Utah about the importance of solar energy.

    Find out more about the past week in our latest weekly wrap-up.


    Preventing Iran from Acquiring a Nuclear Weapon

    In November 2013, the P5+1 and Iran took an important first step toward that goal with the Joint Plan of Action (JPOA), which halted the progress of Iran’s program and rolled back it back in key areas for the first time in nearly a decade. The IAEA has verified that Iran has met all of its obligations under the JPOA.

    On Thursday, after many months of principled diplomacy building on the JPOA, we have achieved a framework for a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

    Learn more about the President's Iran deal.


  • Get Out and #FindYourPark

    "For a century, rangers, and interpreters, and volunteers and visitors have kept alive what the writer Wallace Stegner once called 'the best idea we ever had' — our belief that the country’s most special places should belong not just to the rich, not just to the powerful, but belong to everybody — not just now, but for all time."

    — President Obama

    Next year, the National Park Service celebrates its 100th birthday. That marks 100 years of preserving, restoring, and sharing some of America's most special places — from gorgeous, iconic landscapes like Yellowstone and Yosemite to the sites across the country that tell the stories of people and events that have shaped our history. Our parks are an essential part of our heritage and a source of great pride. And, most importantly, our parks belong to all of us.

    That’s a lot to celebrate, so we’re starting now. Last month, President Obama kicked things off when he launched Every Kid in a Park — an initiative that will give every fourth-grade student and their families a free pass to National Parks and all other federal lands and waters for a full year.

    And today, the National Park Service and National Park Foundation are continuing the celebration with the launch of #FindYourPark, a new campaign to encourage Americans to connect to our astounding network of parks and public lands — whether it’s for the first time or the hundredth.