Michelle Obama to the NAACP: ‘Now is Not The Time to Rest on Our Laurels’

By Alex Pepper

Jul 12, 2010 5:46pm

From Sunlen Miller



Speaking to the NAACP’s National Convention in Kansas City today, First Lady Michelle Obama said her husband is where he is today because of the organization, and now is not the time to “rest on our laurels.”


“I know that I stand here today, and I know that my husband stands where he is today, because of this organization — and because of the struggles and the sacrifices of all those who came before us,” Mrs. Obama said today. “But I also know that their legacy isn’t an entitlement to be taken for granted.  And I know it is not simply a gift to be enjoyed.  Instead, it is an obligation to be fulfilled.”



Mrs. Obama said the work is not yet done.



“When African American communities are still hit harder than just about anywhere by this economic downturn, and so many families are just barely scraping by, I think the founders would tell us that now is not the time to rest on our laurels. When stubborn inequalities still persist — in education and health, in income and wealth — I think those founders would urge us to increase our intensity, and to increase our discipline and our focus and keep fighting for a better future for our children and our grandchildren.”



Bringing her platform to combat childhood obesity to the convention, Mrs. Obama said that the African American community is being hit even harder by the obesity epidemic.



“We are living today in a time where we’re decades beyond slavery, we are decades beyond Jim Crow; when one of the greatest risks to our children’s future is their own health.  African American children are significantly more likely to be obese than are white children.  Nearly half of African American children will develop diabetes at some point in their lives.  People, that’s half of our children.”



Mrs. Obama said that no one wants that kind of future for kids, and warned what could happen should work not be done to combat this problem.



“Surely the men and women of the NAACP haven’t spent a century organizing and advocating and working day and night only to raise the first generation in history that might be on track to live shorter lives than their parents.  And that’s why I’ve made improving the quality of our children’s health one of my top priorities.”



Mrs. Obama said the changes in diet and exercise can be small – such as believing that dessert is “not a right,” as she said they say around the White House.



“Or just being more thoughtful about how we prepare our food — baking instead of frying.  I know.  Don’t shoot me.  And cutting back on those portion sizes. Look, no one wants to give up Sunday meal.  No one wants to say goodbye to mac and cheese and fried chicken and mashed potatoes — oh, I’m getting hungry forever.  No one wants to do that.”



-Sunlen Miller

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