Former President Barack Obama spoke out this week to say that he “couldn’t be prouder” of his daughters Malia and Sasha for joining racial justice protests this past summer.
Obama proudly told People Magazine that Malia, 22, and Sasha, 19, each participated in racial justice protests in the wake of the death of George Floyd, who was killed in police custody in Minneapolis back in May. He said that the young women felt “the need to participate” after seeing the injustice of Floyd’s death.
“I didn’t have to give them a lot of advice because they had a very clear sense of what was right and what was wrong and [of] their own agency and the power of their voice and the need to participate,” Obama said. “Malia and Sasha found their own ways to get involved with the demonstrations and activism that you saw with young people this summer, without any prompting from Michelle and myself, on their own initiative.”
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“They didn’t do it in a way where they were looking for limelight,” he added. “They were very much in organizer mode. I could not have been prouder of them.”
Obama went on to say that his daughters did not need much guidance from him when it came to the protests.
“I think a couple of times they asked for sort of very specific suggestions about what would be the best way to communicate X or what would be the most useful thing that, if we were mobilizing a whole bunch of friends, to have an impact, what should we be doing?” he said. “But they didn’t need to be encouraged. Their attitude was — we’ve seen something wrong and we want to fix it, and we think we can fix it. And we understand that it’s not gonna take just a day or a week or one march to fix it. But we’re in it for the long haul.”
While Obama does not think Malia and Sasha will go into politics, he added, “I think both of them are going to be active citizens.”
“They’re reflective of their generation in the sense they want to make a difference and they think about their careers in terms of: How do I have a positive impact? How do I make the world better?” he said. “What particular paths they take in doing that, I think are going to change and vary between the two of them.”
“I think they’re going to want to have an impact and their friends feel the same way,” Obama continued. “It’s interesting when you talk to them in groups, the degree to which, compared to young people when I was coming out of college or you know even 20 years ago, I think people were much more focused on their finances and the perks of a job. And these kids are really focused on — how can I do something that I find meaningful, that resonates with my values and my ideals? And that I think is an encouraging sign for the country.”