Michelle Obama Discusses Social Issues, Personal Life and Social Media At Summit

CHICAGO (AP) — The Obama Foundation’s first major event, a two-day summit of 500 civic leaders, wrapped up Wednesday in Chicago’s South Loop.

Chicago’s former first lady Michelle Obama took the spotlight on Wednesday and CBS 2’s Derrick Blakely was there.

Michelle Obama told participants in the summit that their work in communities around the work gives her hope. And she said, her working-class, South Side upbringing is what kept her grounded, even after reaching the White House.

During an hour of free-wheeling talk, Michelle Obama touched on social issues, like women’s empowerment.

“We ask our women to speak up for equality, against sex harassment, etc. You have to teach them to speak up, that doesn’t happen by accident,” she said.

But the former first lady focused on the personal, like her refusal to coddle her two daughters.

“We could have spent eight years feeling sorry for them because they had to live in a bubble, driving around with men with guns, etc., but we didn’t apologize to them, go to school, deal with it,” Obama said.

And, she delivered this riff on the importance of gal pals:

“I love my husband. He is my rock, but my girlfriends are my sanity. When you live in the White House, you can’t open the windows or walk outside. When you live like that for eight years, you need girlfriends,” she said.

What’s more, she suggested men should follow the example set by women.

“Y’all should get you some friends. Y’all need to go talk to each other about your stuff because there’s so much of it,” Obama said.

And regarding the Obama Center, she said a major goal is to bring public art to the South Side.

“Not just Millennium Park, The Bean, we deserve those things just as much as the rest of the community,” she said.

Michelle Obama kept away from politics, but she did say words matter, particularly in an age where Twitter and other social media can be used like a weapon.

She said people shouldn’t “tweet every thought” because “first initial thoughts are not worthy of the light of day.”

The comments drew laughter from the crowd as Obama added she wasn’t “talking about anybody in particular.”

She said when people send a tweet, especially young people, they need to think it over, spell correctly and use good grammar.

“You don’t just say what’s on your mind and you don’t tweet everything,” she said.

Former President Barack Obama was scheduled to wrap up the two-day summit with closing remarks.

(CBS Chicago and The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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