The Final State of the Union
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Each night, the President Obama reads 10 letters sent to him by the American people. This week, he responded to one that wasn't the typical letter.
Kathleen wrote to the President through Facebook Messenger -- a newly launched way for ordinary Americans to send a note to the President. Kathleen, who will be the first in her family to get a college degree, wrote about how President Obama inspires her to make the world a better and more equal place.
Take a look at Kathleen's Facebook message to the President and his response.
Dear Mr. President,
You might not be able to read this, but I do hope it reaches you somehow. I wanted to tell you how much you have inspired and empowered me. I come from a family that is very old-fashioned. When I was younger in my teens I'd say, I can remember many times when I disagreed with my parents way of thinking. They believed that the woman is meant to stay home with the children and the man is meant to work. They believed that women are supposed to be silent and follow commands. I was the opposite and pushed those boundaries in my household often. My father told me often growing up that I should "mind your manners and hold your tongue when speaking to a man." Thanks Goodness I never listened. I always spoke up, always voiced my opinion, and always fought for what I believed. As I got older I started to see the world around me change. People were casting aside old ways of thinking and embracing a new way of thinking. This new way of thinking said that all people should be and can be truly equal and that anyone can be anything with no restrictions. This is a movement I saw start when you became President. You changed the way America thought and looked at the world. You broke barriers that people had been struggling with for generations. And you continue to push against and break barriers for those that will follow behind you. Thank you for that. I am 23 years old now and pursuing an education. I will be the first in my family to get a college degree. And someday, I hope to make the world a better and more equal place like you have. Thank you for all you've done & continued to do, Mr. President. You are blessing and a role model to me.
Here's how the President responded:
The White House
August 24, 2016
Thank you for your note, which was the first one sent from Facebook Messenger to reach my desk. When women succeed, America succeeds, and while we have made great progress toward gender equality, we have more work to do to upend old ways of thinking and enact lasting change. My Administration is committed to building a future where girls across our country and around the world are free to live out their dreams.
Thanks again for writing to me. I was glad to hear your story and I hope you're proud of all you've accomplished. As you continue to advance your education, find your voice, and seek out opportunities to make the world a better place, I encourage you to keep speaking up on the issues that matter to you.
Proud of you!