Marking the 60th anniversary of the historic Brown vs. Board of Education ruling, First Lady Michelle Obama said on Friday that racial and other prejudices still plague the nation and she called on young people to lead the way forward.
“This issue is so sensitive, it’s so complicated, so bound up with a painful history,” Obama told soon-to-be graduating high school seniors in Topeka, Kansas—the city that was at the center of the Supreme Court’s decision. “No matter what you do, the point is to never be afraid to talk about these issues, particularly the issue of race, because even today, we still struggle to do that.”
She added, “We know that today in America, too many folks are still stopped on the street because of the color of their skin, or they’re made to feel unwelcome because of where they come from, or they’re bullied because of who they love.”
Saturday officially marks six decades since the 1954 landmark high court decision outlawing “separate but equal” and establishing that racially segregated schools were unconstitutional. Obama was originally slated to speak Saturday at the Topeka school’s graduation ceremony, but after the plan was met with protests from families and students, the White House rescheduled her speech for Friday’s “Senior Appreciation Day,” where she was welcomed by a resounding applause along with former Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, who was also in attendance and had served as governor of Kansas. There were protests or booing at the event on Friday.
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