Day Two at the Obama Summit

On the final day of the inaugural Obama Foundation’s international summit, Michelle Obama took the stage in a conversation with poet Elizabeth Alexander. During her remarks, FLOTUS44 discussed her modest upbringing in Chicago, her time in the White House, and the need for leaders to be mindful of what they say on social media. "You don’t tweet every thought," she said, drawing applause. “I’m not talking about anybody in particular. Tweeting and social media, that is a powerful weapon. ... You need to think and spell it right and have good grammar. Every word you utter has consequences,” she continued.Common also took the stage on Wednesday telling playwright and actor Lin-Manuel Miranda that he only recently began performing in prisons and working for policy efforts to address mass incarceration because an acquaintance pushed him to do more. Equal Justice Initiative’s Bryan Stevenson told attendees that in order to make a change, they have to get closer to the poor and the disabled, and they have to be willing to do uncomfortable things. Former President Barack Obama popped in on one of Wednesday morning’s breakout sessions, sitting quietly and mostly unnoticed in the back while a panel of five discussed ways to get younger and non-traditional residents interested in public service. At one point, he stood along the back wall listening intently, gripping his coffee cup. It wasn’t until panel moderator Caroline Kennedy asked if anyone in the back of the room would like to speak that the former South Side community activist jumped into the conversation. “Politics matters,” he said. “The question then becomes, ‘How do we change the culture so that people are not turned off by politics but rather turned on by being engaged in politics?’ And how do we get some of the best talent to say, at some point, this is an option for them?” Closing out the conference was Chance the Rapper, the NationalGloria Estefan, and Aziz Ansari took the stage to introduce a surprise performance by rapper NasSee Michelle Obama’s full conversation with Elizabeth Alexander here.

Tiffany D. Cross