First Lady Michelle Obama Urges All of Us to Have the Difficult Conversations in our Communities

“Start with your own garden. Tend your garden. Work in the communities and have the hard conversations at the dinner tables that [sic] you sit.” —Michelle Obama, 2020


In a candid conversation with Obama Foundation Scholars and Fellows earlier this summer, Mrs. Obama encouraged our program participants to keep showing up for their communities and fighting for a more just world.

She also emphasized that now is the time for all of us to do our part to change our communities. In response to a question on how we can all be vigilant and take action to address racial justice issues, Mrs. Obama shared a powerful response: by having hard conversations at our own kitchen tables, in our workplaces, and in our social lives.

If you are looking for resources to help you have conversations with someone in your community about race, we encourage you to check out these: 

The National Museum of African American History and Culture—Talking About Race

An online portal to help families, individuals, and communities talk about racism and commit to being antiracist.

The Race Card Project

Michele Norris’ Race Card Project is a helpful resource to explore your own identity and see how others perceive their own. Through an innovative exercise, you’re asked to “distill your thoughts, experiences or observations about race into one sentence that only has six words.”

Everyday Democracy—A Guide for Public Dialogue and Problem Solving

Everyday Democracy supports organizing across the country by bringing diverse groups of people together, helping them structure and facilitate community dialogue on pressing issues, and training them to use a racial equity lens to understand long standing problems and possible solutions.

The Center for Racial Justice in Education’s—Resources for Talking About Race, Racism and Racialized Violence with Kids

A resource guide geared toward parents and teachers.

Living Room Conversations—Talking About Race

Living Room Conversations are a conversational bridge across issues that divide and separate us. They provide an easy structure for engaging in friendly yet meaningful conversation with those with whom we may not agree. These conversations increase understanding, reveal common ground, and sometimes even allow us to discuss possible solutions.