I want to start this letter by congratulating you. Over the past eight years, you’ve completed your secondary education, a task that seems so routine to so many of us, and lived in the White House as the daughter of the POTUS, something none of us have ever done before. While many of us can relate to the former, none of us have experienced the latter. I can only imagine the immense pressure that comes with living in that kind of spotlight. But I must say that I am immensely proud of the grace with which you carried yourself; a grace, no doubt, you learned from your mother.
Malia, understand that even though you were the First Daughter, the next steps you take do not have to mirror those of your parents. Please never forget that you have the opportunity to forge your own path. Whether you choose journalism, media, activism, politics, or any other field, you have the opportunity to make a difference. Rest assured that there is work to be done everywhere you look; and if that sounds at all daunting, I want you to remember a few things:
Know that generations who have come before you are excited about the hope your generation brings; enraged and hurt by all your generation has seen and learned at such a young age, but eager to see just how those experiences will motivate you all to make a difference. Know that we are not only behind you supporting you as you continue the work, but that we will also be walking beside you. Know that if you experience feelings of fear, uncertainty, or doubt, we have all felt them first (this world, this country will not let us live here without feeling them), and that we are here to both empathize and encourage you through those feelings. Know that when you want to give up, we will love you enough not to let you; the reminders of the work of our ancestors will not let you.
Know that you have family here to support you; not just your parents and your sister, but the millions of us who have been called to do this work, too. We are here, we support you, and we are hopeful.
Best of luck in all of your future endeavors.
With hope and love,
Autumn, The Blackademic
Autumn is a former middle school literacy educator. She is currently pursuing her doctoral degree in Teaching, Learning, Policy, and Leadership with a concentration in Language, Literacy, and Social Inquiry at The University of Maryland - College Park.