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Yesterday, to support the President’s “North Star” Goal -- that by 2020, Americans will once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world -- First Lady Michelle Obama hosted a discussion with education stakeholders about the challenges and best practices regarding education access in underserved communities. As part of the event, guests participated in a screening of The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete, a coming of age story about two inner-city youth that display grit, resilience, courage even in the most hopeless circumstances. The movie's executive producer Alicia Keys opened up the event by talking about how she was personally inspired by the script. The First Lady then thanked the educators participating in the event for engaging on this issue:
I want to thank all of you for taking the time to participate in this screening and this discussion, and for the work that you're doing to move our kids forward and basically keep our country thriving and on top. And again, there's a reason why I invited you all here. We did this because for many of you, this movie isn’t just a powerful story of -- or a great piece of art. For so many of you, it’s the reality you see every day in your classrooms and in your communities.
The First Lady then spoke about her commitment to engaging with young people and encourage them to take a active role in their education so that they can create a better future for themselves and their country.
I’m going to tell them that they have everything they need to succeed already. It’s all in there, but they still have to be committed to getting their educations. I’m going to be making a special effort, obviously, to reach kids like Mister and Pete, who face such overwhelming obstacles in their lives. And as you all know, too often these kids view their difficult life experiences as weaknesses. They view what they go through as a source of embarrassment and shame sometimes. But as we all know, it’s really just the opposite, and it’s important for them to understand that.