Michelle Obama speaks at CT Forum


Hartford Courant

A night to remember-- Former First Lady Michelle Obama speaks in a discussion moderated by Director and Chief Curator of the The Studio Museum in Harlem Thelma Golden. The event was hosted by the Connecticut Forum and took place at the Bushnell on November 16.

Pei Yi Zhuo, Broadcast Coordinator

  The Bushnell in Hartford held a discussion organized by the Connecticut Forum on Thursday, November 16. The event featured former First Lady Michelle Obama and was moderated by Director and Chief Curator of the The Studio Museum in Harlem, Thelma Golden. During the night, Obama reflected on her life experiences and advised the audience to strive for positivity.

    The event was sold out with 2,800 people watching the discussion in the main theater, Mortensen Hall. Due to the high demand, the neighboring 950 seat Belden Theater broadcasted a simulcast of the discussion on a screen for people who were unable to obtain tickets to the live event.

  Three students from the high school attended the moderated conversation. Junior Bryce Cullen viewed the discussion in person at Mortensen Hall, while senior Avery Laberge and freshman Cullen Laberge attended the simulcast, where they were joined by social studies teacher Patrick Mulcahy.

  “I chose to attend the event because I personally have developed quite a bit of respect for Mrs. Obama over the years. Her poise, class, engagement with the community, and commitment to bettering the lives of all Americans changed the definition of what it means to be the First Lady of the United States,” Mulcahy said.

  Obama discussed her upbringing in Chicago’s South Side, the principles she lives by, and her outlook on the world. In addition, she spoke about the impact the eight years she spent at the White House had on her and the efforts she led as First Lady to improve the health of children including the “Let’s Move!” campaign.

  According to the Hartford Courant, the former First lady also commented on the male celebrities and politicians accused of sexual harassment.

 “I can’t tell you how sick it makes me,” Obama said.

 In regards to the state of American politics in 2017, the Courant reported that Obama emphasized positive personal actions.

 “The impact of all of us in our everyday lives is greater than anything … that can come from the White House,” Obama said.

 The simulcast audience were able to see Obama live when, for five minutes, she stepped onto the stage of the Belden Theater to address the viewers. Avery Laberge, along with her fellow audience members, were excited by her appearance on stage.

  “These were the only five minutes I saw her in person, so I gathered everything I could,” Avery Laberge said.

  The students in attendance rated the experience favorably, finding hope and inspiration in Michelle Obama’s words.

  “I walked away with a refreshing feeling of optimism about the future. With so much violence and negativity coming at us from all directions, this night was nothing but positive,” Cullen said.

  Mulcahy saw applications of Obama’s message within the high school, especially in his role as an educator.

  “The forum inspired me to continue to work hard for my students. Mrs. Obama repeatedly emphasized the importance of education, and how valuable investing in young people is. Her wisdom reminded me to view things positively every day,” Mulcahy said.