Speaking at a fundraising event for the Women’s Foundation of Colorado, former first lady Michelle Obama opened up about weathering racial attacks during her time in the White House.
Mrs. Obama received a sustained standing ovation the WFCO’s 30th anniversary event Tuesday night at the Pepsi Center in Denver, where she spoke about education and women’s empowerment, The Denver Post reported.
In a discussion with WFCO President and CEO Lauren Casteel, Mrs. Obama said that despite breaking the glass ceiling as the country’s first black first lady, some of the falling glass shards left lasting cuts.
“The shards that cut me the deepest were the ones that intended to cut,” she said, referencing being called an ape and people talking about her bottom, The Post reported. “Knowing that after eight years of working really hard for this country, there are still people who won’t see me for what I am because of my skin color.”
Mrs. Obama said women shouldn’t let their scars stop them from achieving their goals and empowering younger generations.
“Women, we endure those cuts in so many ways that we don’t even notice we’re cut,” she said. “We are living with small tiny cuts, and we are bleeding every single day. And we’re still getting up.”
The former first lady avoided discussing politics during the event, but took “a few thinly veiled shots at the current president — receiving cheers from the crowd,” The Post reported. She said the U.S. is resilient and warned people against feeling the country is headed toward disaster.
“The people in this country are universally good and kind and honest and decent,” she said. “Don’t be afraid of the country you live in. The folks here are good.”
Mrs. Obama reiterated she wouldn’t seek public office but that she and former President Barack Obama would remain in public service.