The Washington University in St. Louis community is invited to watch a livestreamed conversation between former first lady Michelle Obama and college students including WashU sophomore Natasha Chisholm.
The event, “Becoming: Michelle Obama in Conversation,” will be streamed at noon CST Tuesday, Nov. 9, from Prince George’s Community College in Largo, Maryland. Yara Shahidi, Harvard student and star of “Grownish,” will moderate.
Watch events will take place at Risa Commons on the South 40 and Tisch Commons in the Danforth University Center. Washington University was among 22 colleges selected to participate in the forum. The conversation will air on BET later.
Chisholm was chosen to attend after writing about her own journey of becoming. Like Obama, Chisholm was a quiet kid who strived to prove herself academically. In middle school, some classmates would ask why she was “talking white” and make fun of her braids.
“But in high school I was surrounded by so much diversity, where people celebrated their cultures,” recalled Chisholm, who is from Orlando. “The experience allowed me to learn about their histories and culture, but ultimately emboldened me to celebrate my heritage.”
Obama was an early and important role model for Chisholm, who is majoring in global studies and minoring in applied linguistics and Russian, all in Arts & Sciences. Like Obama, Chisholm plans to study law and, ultimately, wants to serve immigrants and refugees.
At the Becoming event, Chisholm hopes to ask Obama how she manages to create community with people of different backgrounds and cultures. She also wants to know how Obama overcame the relentless attacks she faced during her husband’s presidency. As a young Black girl watching from afar, Chisholm felt the sting of those rebukes.
“Growing up, she made me see what is possible for a Black woman to achieve, but also the struggles we face,” Chisholm said. “Whenever there is a strong Black woman who embodies power, the world tries to shut her down. There have been times I’ve wanted to be invisible. But Michelle Obama has never given up. I want that strength.”