Tag Archives: visit

First Lady Michelle Obama Announces First Solo Trip to Mexico

Posted by: Audiegrl

First Lady Michelle Obama greets Mrs. Margarita Zavala de Calderon, the First Lady of Mexico, in the Yellow Oval Room of the White House, Feb. 25, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton)

The First Lady plans to take her first solo trip to Mexico, where she’ll spend time with Mexico’s First Lady Margarita Zavala de Calderon. The two women recently talked during a official visit to the White House on February 25, 2010. During the visit, the first ladies discussed obesity, diabetes, addictions and the situation of undocumented Mexican minors in the United States. They stressed the links between the United States and Mexico and pledged to work on those issues.

The East Wing of the White House released the following information:

“In recognition of the deep ties between the United States and Mexico, First Lady Michelle Obama will visit Mexico City, Mexico, April 13-15, on her first solo official trip as First Lady. Mrs. Obama’s international agenda will amplify the President’s commitment to advancing mutual interests, mutual respect and mutual responsibility between nations and peoples around the world. During this visit, Mrs. Obama will have the opportunity to engage the citizens of Mexico, particularly young people, and build on her recent conversation with Mexican First Lady Margarita Zavala de Calderon on the issues of education and economic advancement in both countries.”

President Barack Obama (R) greets Mexican President Felipe Calderon Hinojosa (2R) as U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama (2L) greets Mexican first lady Margarita Zavala at the Phipps Conservatory for the G-20 Summit on September 24, 2009 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. President Obama met the world leaders and spouses this evening to kick off the two-day G-20 summit held at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center aimed at promoting economic growth.(Photo by John Moore/Getty Images North America)

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Filed under Childhood Obesity, Children, Fashion, First Lady Michelle Obama, Mexico, Uncategorized

First Lady Michelle Obama Surprises White House Tour Visitors

Posted by: Audiegrl

One year ago on January 20th, after President Obama was inaugurated, he and the First Lady decided to surprise visitors who were on White House tours to reinforce the message of the White House being the People’s House. Mrs. Obama is marking the first year by continuing this tradition – taking some time to greet visitors of the People’s House. Even first dog Bo gets in on the act. 🙂
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Filed under Animals, Barack Obama, Change, Culture, Entertainment, First Lady Michelle Obama, History, Media and Entertainment, News, Obama Administration, Pets, Politics, Pop Culture, Pres. Barack Obama, Presidents, Technology, Uncategorized, United States, Video/YouTube, Washington, DC, Women's Issues

Racial Re-thinking as President Obama Visits China

Increasing diversity, born out of boom, forces Chinese to confront old prejudices

Lou JingWashington Post/Keith B. Richburg—As a mixed-race girl growing up in this most cosmopolitan of mainland Chinese cities, 20-year-old Lou Jing said she never experienced much discrimination — curiosity and questions, but never hostility.

So nothing prepared Lou, whose father is a African American, for the furor that erupted in late August when she beat out thousands of other young women on “Go! Oriental Angel,” a televised talent show. Angry Internet posters called her a “black chimpanzee” and worse. One called for all blacks in China to be deported.

As the country gets ready to welcome the first African American U.S. president, whose first official visit here starts Sunday, the Chinese are confronting their attitudes toward race, including some deeply held prejudices about black people. Many appeared stunned that Americans had elected a black man, and President Obama’s visit has underscored Chinese ambivalence about the growing numbers of blacks living here.

As China has expanded its economic ties with Africa — trade between them reached $107 billion last year — the number of Africans living here has exploded. Tens of thousands have flocked to the south, where they are putting down roots, establishing communities, marrying Chinese women and having children.

In the process, they are making tiny pockets of urban China more racially diverse — and forcing the Chinese to deal with issues of racial discrimination. In the southern city of Guangzhou, where residents refer to one downtown neighborhood as Chocolate City, local newspapers have been filled in recent months with stories detailing discrimination and alleging police harassment against the African community.

Lou sees similarities between her life and Obama’s: She also grew up without her father, whom she never knew. obamachinaUN-Climate-change-meeting-002-300x180 She read Obama’s autobiography and watched his campaign speeches on television. She learned how to chant “Yes, we can!” in English and calls Obama “my idol.

Reading the withering online criticisms of her talent-show appearance, she recalled, she came across one post that asked: “Now that Obama is president, does that mean a new day for black people has arrived?

“I think the answer is yes,” she said. “Some Chinese people’s perceptions of black people here have been transformed.”

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Oriental Angel‘ Triggers China Race Row

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theage.com.au—An instructor at Shanghai Drama Academy, where Lou studies broadcasting, put forward the mixed-race beauty and a handful of classmates to appear on the television talent show, without asking first.

She was selected for the top 30 nationwide, but was not among the 12 contestants chosen by judges for the next round.

Lou said she was not surprised by the judges’ decision, but was shocked by the thousands of web postings that followed, most of them negative and many of them expressing racist views.

I couldn’t help crying. I felt hurt. I never meant to offend anyone,” she said.

Although Lou is still working towards her dream of being a television presenter, she said the episode had left her less optimistic about whether she can find a place on China’s airwaves.

They want a TV host who is considered traditionally beautiful,” she said.

Ever since I appeared on TV, I realized that maybe I don’t fit the image of a TV host. Many believe a TV host should have white skin, high nose and big eyes.”

Lou said she would follow Obama’s visit to China, listing the US president — himself of mixed-race descent — as one of her heroes alongside her mother and Oprah Winfrey, whose show she watches over the Internet.

She said Obama’s autobiography had inspired her, but added that she was unconvinced she could change people’s minds about race.

He convinced people that he has the capacity to change what people thought of African-Americans. Compared to him, I don’t have that capacity for change because the Chinese media is too powerful,” she said.

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Filed under Africa, African-Americans, Barack Obama, Change, China, Civil Rights Movement, Culture, Geneology, Pop Culture, Pres. Barack Obama, Presidents, TV Shows, Video/YouTube, World

My solemn meeting on Veterans Day with President Obama at my friend’s resting place in Arlington

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President Barack Obama leaves a Presidential coin at the gravesite of 19-year-old Medal of Honor recipient, Specialist Ross McGinnis, who is one of two Medal of Honor recipients memorialized at the cemetery from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Daily News/James Gordon Meek—He didn’t introduce himself. He didn’t have to.

President Obama simply stuck out his hand and asked for my name as he stepped toward me amid a bone-chilling drizzle in the Gardens of Stone.

This was Section 60 of Arlington National Cemetery. I wasn’t there as a reporter, but to visit some friends and family buried there when Obama made an unscheduled stop – a rare presidential walk among what Lincoln called America’s “honored dead” – after laying a Veterans Day wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns.

President Obama extends a hand to James Gordon Meek of the Daily News Washington Bureau.

President Obama extends a hand to James Gordon Meek of the Daily News Washington Bureau.

What I got was an unexpected look into the eyes of a man who intertwined his roles as commander in chief and consoler in chief on a solemn day filled with remembrance and respect for sacrifices made – and sacrifices yet to be made.

I’m sure the cynics will assume this was just another Obama photoop.

If they’d been standing in my boots looking him in the eye, they would have surely choked on their bile.

His presence in Section 60 convinced me that he now carries the heavy burden of command.

I had stopped at Arlington to see the resting place of Ken Taylor, Ed Lenard and Dave Sharrett. Ken and Ed survived their service, in World War II and Korea, and died as old men. Dave did not leave Iraq alive. He was 27.

Obama arrived just before noon at the serene Section 60, where many of the dead from Iraq and Afghanistan are buried together – and where many more heroes will undoubtedly be laid to rest before this President leaves office.

It’s a section typically bustling with those visiting loved ones. Every time I go there, more and more graves have been dug into the earth.

The President and First Lady Michelle Obama emerged from their armored limousine hatless in the frigid downpour and took a slow stroll into the soggy rows of white marble headstones.

They stopped first at the grave of Medal of Honor recipient Ross McGinnis, an Army private who threw himself on a grenade in Iraq three years ago to save four buddies.

A sad-faced woman reached for Obama’s hand and pointed him to a nearby plot.

The face of another woman – who had grimly sat in a folding chair for hours next to a headstone she’d arranged flowers around – suddenly broadened into a smile as she stood to embrace Obama and thank him for paying his respects.

She was so overcome with emotion that a soldier from the Army’s Old Guard had to console her afterward.

Gravestone of Pfc. David Sharrett at Arlington National Cemetery

Gravestone of Pfc. David Sharrett at Arlington National Cemetery

The President patted backs of a dozen other Gold Star relatives and troops visiting buddies now in the ground.

He gave hugs. He shook wet, chilly hands. He wanted to know something about each fallen warrior.

He began to slowly trudge back toward the motorcade – and to another White House huddle with his war council, which is advising him whether to send up to 40,000 additional troops into harm’s way in Afghanistan.

And then Obama noticed a tall, bearded figure. He probably didn’t see the mud-caked combat boots I trudged around Afghanistan in a few years ago.

What’s your name?” a somber President asked as he extended his hand.

James Meek, sir,” I replied, struggling to pull off my wool glove and pull my hood back from my head. “I’m here visiting a friend, Pfc. David H. Sharrett II, who was killed in Iraq last year.”

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Filed under Afghanistan, Barack Obama, Journalism, Military, Politics, Pres. Barack Obama, Presidents, Veterans Day