"I think, at this point, everybody's qualified and everyone should run," Obama said, in jest. "I might even tap Sasha!"
We've never had a POTUS and FLOTUS like the Obama's before, and we've never had a Trump before. Two very different presidencies, one wrought with bigotry, racism and rampant white supremacy, and scandal, the other full of hope, unity and service. Former FLOTUS Michelle Obama says we need to pay attention to who is qualified in the next presidential election.
"I implored people to focus and think about what it takes to be commander-in-chief," Obama told Robin Roberts in a "20/20" interview, in reference to women electing a misogynist in 2016 instead of a qualified female candidate.
She expressed the importance of voting, but went beyond that to describe the kind of person qualified to run this country.
"The commander in chief needs to have discipline, and read, and be knowledgeable. You need to know history, you need to be careful with your words," she said.
"I'm going to be looking to see who handles themselves and each other with dignity and respect so that by the time people get to the general (election), people aren't beat up and battered," the former first lady, who said she will not run for president, stressed.
"I think this (Democratic nomination) is open to any and everybody who has the courage to step up and serve."
She even joked that at this point, anyone is qualified to run for president —even her daughter.
"I think, at this point, everybody's qualified and everyone should run," she said on Good Morning America "I might even tap (her younger daughter) Sasha!"
.@MichelleObama on whether Hillary Clinton should run for president in 2020: "I think at this point everybody is qualified and everybody should run. I might even tap Sasha!" https://t.co/E6lGKfK6oR pic.twitter.com/Axrvs7SDZQ
— Good Morning America (@GMA) November 13, 2018
Obama and her husband were about service before, during and after the presidency.
Candidates like Trump, drunk with power, have a past, present, and future that mirror that intoxication.
Coming off midterms there are questions about what to do next — investigations of Trump, what lessons did we learn articles, predictions of the 2020 election, but getting back to what a leader, a public servant of this country is supposed to do — lead by serving its people — is a message that voters can review candidate criteria with.
"It's amazing to me that we still have to tell people about the importance of voting," she said. "People have to be educated, they have to be focused on the issues and they have to go to the polls if they want their politics to reflect their values."
Obama explained, "Where I'm at right now is that we should see anybody who feels the passion to get in this race, we need them in there. Let's see who wants to roll up their sleeves and get in the race. That's what the primary process is for."
In looking at Trump's record, most of his decisions have been made to serve himself. His record of cheating employees out of money, not paying taxes, discriminating against Blacks in terms of who could claim residency in his buildings, misogynistic comments, scandals around payoffs for affairs — none of it shows signs of service.
Obama writes in her new memoir "Becoming" how Trump's division and bigoted messaging tactics to garner a movement to propel his campaign impacted her own family's safety:
"The whole [birther] thing was crazy and mean-spirited, of course, its underlying bigotry and xenophobia hardly concealed. But it was also dangerous, deliberately meant to stir up the wingnuts and kooks."
In current times, his decisions in the White House usually involve a lot of divisive words to spark attention from white supremacists, "look what I did" moments on twitter for validation, and little about what the country needs, but instead what the country should be afraid of.
And that is not why you get the job in the first place.
"Black people have always been underestimated. The Black college experience is still an exceptional way to train young people," said Senator Art Haywood, a Morehouse Graduate.
What Kamala Harris, Alma Adams, Andrew Gillum and Stacey Abrams all have in common, in addition to being influential in U.S. politics, is they're graduates of Historically Black Colleges and Universities ( HBCUs) — Howard University, North Carolina A&T, Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University, and Spelman College.
Approximately 40 percent of the members of Congress are HBCU graduates, according to the Network Journal, a Black professional and small business magazine. And recipients of The United Negro College Fund and Thurgood Marshall Foundation scholarships graduate from college at rates well above the national average.
"We're producing outstanding leaders in all of the major professions," said Harry L. Williams, president and CEO of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund and former Delaware State president.
"Anytime you can look at (HBCU) success stories, it just enhances their relevancy and continues to move them forward in a positive way."
This year, a record 38 women of color were elected to Congress. Many of them are HBCU graduates.
The prospect of so many Black-college graduates being elected to statewide office in the same year is unprecedented, Keneshia Grant, an assistant professor of political science at Howard University, said.
And they are touting their HBCU training. Abrams expressed her disapproval of legislation plans for education that did not include those institutions.
As a Spelman alumna, I share the concern raised by @RepRichmond. HBCUs are vital for economic independence. https://t.co/C5DtYKPukP
— Stacey Abrams (@staceyabrams) February 16, 2016
Gillum responded to President Trump's tweet attacking him about his lack of Ivy League education:
Mr. @realDonaldTrump, I am a graduate of THE Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University (FAMU) — an HBCU founded on October 3, 1887. Google it. 🐍 https://t.co/I8uOokptJA
— Andrew Gillum (@AndrewGillum) October 30, 2018
Art Haywood is one of four Black state senators in Pennsylvania, and one of two from Morehouse.
"If the two Black state senators had come from Harvard or Yale, then those schools would get all the credit," Haywood said.
"Black people have always been underestimated," Haywood said. "I don't think there's any more validation required. The Black college experience is still an exceptional way to train young people."
Of politicians like Abrams and Gillum, the president of HBCU Dillard University Walter Kimbrough said they are sending a message: "It's a reaffirmation, not only for students but for families, that you can go to an HBCU and compete with anyone."
Approximately 13 percent of HBCU graduates are CEOS, 40 percent are engineers and 50 percent are professors at non-HBCUs, according to the Network Journal.
The HBCUs Make America Strong: The Positive Economic Impact of Historically Black Colleges and Universities study shows how the United States economy benefits from HBCUs: $14.8 billion in economic impact. In addition, graduates predominantly come from low-income areas, giving them and the communities the opportunity to break cycles of poverty and open doors to successful and lucrative careers. Individual graduates can earn $927,000 within their lifetime, $130 billion collectively over their lifetime.
"I was looking beyond my own tragedy," Lucy McBath said.
Winning in a district with affluent white voters as the majority, Lucy McBath was advised initially during her campaign not to talk about the details of her 17-year-old son's murder.
Instead, she not only mentioned Jordan Davis' story, she also called attention to the reality of other Black teens like him, including Trayvon Martin.
McBath, a Democrat, defeated Republican incumbent Karen Handel who had been elected to represent Georgia's 6th Congressional District just last year.
"I, like so many others, hoped beyond hope that we'd be able to [have a] recount," Sili Recio, a community organizer in Orlando, told DiversityInc.
Florida Democratic gubernatorial candidate and Tallahassee mayor, Andrew Gillum, conceded the race for governor at 11 p.m. on Tuesday. Gillum lead a masterful campaign. The margins were incredibly close. So close that the community gathered, along with his camp, to ensure that he could get a recount, and, as of Thursday, it's headed in that direction.
The initial call to action, which began at 10 a.m. on Thursday, was to cure issues with provisional ballots because of the sheer number of them. With the Bill Nelson/Rick Scott Senate race so close, as well, it was imperative that every vote be counted.
A campaign office in Orlando was one of the main locations where volunteers showed up to help in every capacity. People that worked directly on the Gillum campaign were there as well Nelson supporters. There were well over 400 volunteers across the building's threshold.
Volunteers putting in the workPhoto courtesy of Sili Recio
How did all of this happen so quickly?
It was the power of social media.
A bright, creative social media director/ influencer of a nonprofit organization with a grassroots community organizing background, Sili Recio, was a main player at the Orlando location.
Recio was crucial in creating social media awareness so the people who voted via provisional ballots would truly have the opportunity to have their votes counted.
"I showed up to volunteer in whatever capacity I was needed in. Social media is my specialty so, I started by coordinating for some images to be created in order to get the word out and provide those that had voted via provisional ballot with the information they needed in order to ensure that their ballot was cured," Recio told DiversityInc.
"I bounced around from initially thinking I'd go knock on doors and provide voters with affidavits, if needed, to phone banking and leading the charge of attempting to find the provisional ballot voters on social media. I called it creative locating and my defacto social media team did a fantastic job in going through the list and doing everything in their power to make sure that people knew what had to be done in order for their vote to count."
Recio added, "I, like so many others hoped beyond hope that we'd be able to recount Gillum as well. I didn't know how it was to be done but, I'm glad it got handled."
An unnamed supporter at the office, a gentleman who was undergoing chemotherapy, stood out among volunteers. Despite his physical condition, he shared a message of hope, persistence and love. He said this was too monumental of a movement to miss.
His inspiring effort became even more incredible when he shared all eight pages of the late Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have A Dream" speech with the rest of the group.
Another volunteer, Sabrina, put in hours of work. Ironically, she didn't even live in Orlando. Sabrina had just flown in for a conference, heard about what was being done with reference to call to action and drove to the site straight from the airport.
There was an extraordinary turnout of people rallying for "the defender of white supremacy in the White House," said Phillips.
By Keka Araujo and Sheryl Estrada
There's a multicultural progressive New American Majority that made its voice heard in Tuesday's midterm elections, according to Steve Phillips, a national political leader and civil rights lawyer.
"My mentors believed in me and taught me the power of perseverance," Jordan said.
NBA legend Michael Jordan believes so much in the power of mentorship that he has made a multimillion-dollar donation to a national nonprofit whose mission is to "break the cycle of generational poverty."
Tribes in North Dakota to provide free identification with street addresses to its members for voting.
When the Supreme Court supported laws in North Dakota that require IDs must display a "current residential street address," about 70,000 Native American voices that could've been silenced.
But The Turtle Mountain Chippewa, Standing Rock Sioux, Spirit Lake Sioux and Three Affiliated Tribes in North Dakota all have helped provide free IDs with street address to tribal members who live on reservations. As over Tuesday, over 2,000 IDs have been provided, and the programs will continue to provide IDs through election day.
"I refuse to let their sacrifices be in vain," Oprah Winfrey said, at a rally for Stacey Abrams.
Oprah Winfrey will participate in two town hall-style events.
Volunteers dedicated their time to help transform children's wheelchairs.
Halloween can be a challenging time for parents of children with disabilities when trying to find a costume that complies with their disability.
Shriner's Hospital for Children in Salt Lake City, Utah is doing its part to make the last day in October a fun-filled, stress-free day. In its third year decorating, volunteers from the hospital continue to build creative costumes for children in wheelchairs.
Matt Lowell, director of seating and mobility, came up with the idea in 2016 and it took off. Volunteers take costume suggestions in early October and run with them, using cardboard, paint, PVC pipes, and fabrics to create costumes that have people in awe.
"It used to be that I could never get Carter close enough to the porch while trick-or-treating," Heather Thorup told The Washington Post. "But now, because of his costume, everyone comes to him."
It was only two years ago that Thorup cried after seeing her son, Carter, then 6-years-old, lagging behind a group of his friends and watching from the sidewalk as kids ran by him with candy-filled buckets, leaving him largely unnoticed. It was a heart-wrenching sight, until she discovered the Shriner's Hospital Halloween workshop.
Last year, her anxiety changed to excitement as volunteers transformed his wheelchair into a Batmobile and he donned a cool Batman costume. Instead of being left out of the conversation, he was the conversation. Now kids and adults alike came to check him out.
From food trucks to magic carpets to Tranfsormers, the staff at Shriner's have come up with an answer to almost every request. Each child now has cool wheels that make them the center of attention on Halloween.
This year, Carter Thorup will be wheeling around his neighborhood as an Optimus Prime transformer, and he is all smiles.
Spirit Halloween, the large retail chain, was so inspired by the Utah hospital that it created costumes that are available online to adapt to wheelchairs. This year's costumes include a rocket ship, princess carriage, race car, and monster truck retailing for $100 each.
Meanwhile, fifth-graders at Silver Creek Elementary School in Troy, Ill., worked together to make Halloween fun for a wheelchair-bound kindergarten student, Trae Bruns, battling Apert Syndrome. They designed him an awesome costume.
"Some parents have created just out of the box ideas for Halloween and it came to me that why can`t we do this for students in wheelchairs?" Cayla Seaton, special education teacher, said to KTVI in an interview.
"I just want people to know that just because somebody looks different doesn`t mean that they`re not like the rest of us," says Bruns. "He may look different but he likes to do everything everybody else loves to do."
The students began working on the costumes in September. Trae's Cat Boy costume from the animated series PJ Masks was a success.
Over the target of $150,000 raised, they said: we wanted to give more than "thoughts and prayers."
In four days' time, 4,500 donors raised over $186,000 to pay for Jewish funerals for the 11 killed in the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh. The organizers, Celebrate Mercy and MPower Change, two Muslim-led groups who welcomed donations no matter the faith.
LaunchGood, the host of the fundraising efforts is a Muslim-centered organization. Tarek El-Messidi, a Chicago-based activist and his friend came up with the idea as soon as they heard about the shooting.
Black women "motivate and galvanize the communities that they touch," said Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams.
With the midterm elections two weeks away, it's clear that a historically overlooked voting block — Black women — who are more politically engaged than any other demographic — will make all the difference for Democratic candidates.