Michelle Obama is now a contributor to Lenny Letter.
On Wednesday morning, a letter from Obama was sent to subscribers of Lena Dunham’s popular newsletter, hours before the first lady was scheduled to speak at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas.
The note corresponds with the release of “This Is For My Girls,” a charity single commissioned for Obama’s Let Girls Learn initiative.
Noting how the conversation about girls’ global education often gets into the “political weeds,” Obama wrote the hardships many young women face in going to school are real, but the discussion sometimes misses the “fundamental point that this issue isn’t just about access to resources like scholarships, transportation, and school bathrooms. It’s also very much about attitudes and beliefs: the belief that girls should be valued for their bodies, not their minds; the belief that girls simply aren’t worthy of an education, and their best chance in life is to be married off when they’re barely even teenagers and start having children of their own.”
Obama wrote that the issue is “personal” for her, “because as I’ve traveled the world as First Lady, I have met these girls, and they are so smart and hardworking, and so hungry for an education. I’ve met girls who make long, dangerous journeys each day to school and then come home and study for hours each night. I’ve met girls studying at rickety desks in bare concrete classrooms who are raising their hands so hard they’re almost falling out of their chairs.”
Dunham’s newsletter has featured political players before (notably Hillary Clinton), and in her letter, Obama wrote about the connection she sees between the issue of girls’ education and the Lenny audience. “I see myself in these girls — in their ambition and their determination to rise above their circumstances. And I believe that because you’re Lenny Letter readers — women who are talented, passionate, and ambitious — you’d see yourselves in these girls too.”
Read the full letter here.