If you know Chicago, you know my hometown has a thing about sports. It’s not just about a little healthy crosstown competition, or a streak of championships in the 90s—it’s that spirit of collective power that makes it possible to find hope for what's to come, even on the coldest February day. Today in Chicago, my friends @realmikewilbon , @giannis_an34 , @kevinlove , and @cp3 joined me for a conversation about that unique power of sports to uplift a community and congregate the next generation of leaders—and how the future Obama Presidential Center will do just that for kids on the South Side.
Happy Valentine’s Day to my forever dance partner, @MichelleObama .
In every scene, you are my star, @MichelleObama ! Happy birthday, baby!
Oscar nominations came out today and I’m glad to see American Factory’s nod for Best Documentary. I like this film for its nuanced, honest portrayal of the way a changing global economy plays out in real lives. It offers a window into people as they actually are and it’s the kind of story we don’t see often enough. This is exactly what Michelle and I hope to achieve through Higher Ground. Congratulations to the incredible filmmakers Julia Reichert and Steven Bognar, and the entire team!
Next up are my favorite movies and TV shows of 2019. This year’s list includes everything from explorations of class dynamics and relationships, to an inspired reboot of a classic graphic novel, to a portal back to one of the most special places in history — an Aretha Franklin concert. Of course, there’s also American Factory, a film from our own production company, Higher Ground, that was recently shortlisted for an Oscar. It’s our first offering in partnership with Netflix, and I’m excited about the other projects we’ve got in the works. Here’s the full list:
Over the next few days, I’ll be sharing my annual list of favorites — books, films, and music — with all of you. This has become a fun little tradition for me, and I hope it is for you, too. Because while each of us has plenty that keeps us busy—work and family life, social and volunteer commitments—outlets like literature and art can enhance our day-to-day experiences. They’re the fabric that helps make up a life—the album that lifts us up after a long day, the dog-eared paperback we grab off the shelf to give to a friend, the movie that makes us think and feel in a new way, works that simply help us escape for a bit. To start, here are the books that made the last year a little brighter for me. Most of them came out in 2019, but a few were older ones that were new to me this year. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.
Last week, Michelle and I had a chance to join the @ObamaFoundation Leaders for an afternoon of community service in Kuala Lumpur. Together, we built furniture for local schools in need of some refurbishing. It was inspiring to see these emerging young leaders so motivated to help those in need—and a reminder that Michelle is much better with power tools than I am.
Growing up in Indonesia and Hawaii instilled in me a sense of cooperation and community. It was meaningful to return to the region with my little sister Maya and spend time with hundreds of emerging @ObamaFoundation leaders from across the Asia Pacific. My message to them was simple: Rejoice in this opportunity to change the world. If we stick with it, even if we can't always see it ourselves, we will change the world for the better.
I thought it was about time I share my holiday gift list — a few practical, affordable items, all for $10 or less. But the best one is no joke: Health care for you or somebody you care about. This year, most current HealthCare.gov customers can find an insurance plan with a monthly premium of $10 or less. The deadline to sign up is December 15, so head to HealthCare.gov and get covered.
Last night, I had the chance to sit down with Stacey Abrams to talk about how Democrats can win up and down the ballot in 2020. There’s a lot of great work already happening: Stacey’s Fair Fight effort to end voter suppression, Eric Holder’s National Democratic Redistricting Committee to draw fair maps, and a lot of big-hearted, forward-looking candidates and campaigns to get people registered and out to the polls. The truth is we win when people vote. The more energized we are, the better organized we are as a party, the better the outcome. We believe in the ideals of equality and democracy, freedom of thought and religion. We rally around the notion that we are all bound together and a belief that civil argument can lead us to a more perfect union. We commit ourselves to the principles that are embodied in our Constitution. And we have to remember that our faith is tested at hard times, not at easy times. That’s how this works. So I hope all of us—as citizens, as volunteers, as Americans who simply believe that we can make this country better—are ready to get marching, get organizing, and get voting. It’s up to us.
No one says it better than @MichelleObama — the Obama Presidential Center coming to the South Side isn't for us, it's for the community and the next generation of leaders.
Every time I leave Chicago, I leave with a little more hope. Over the years, I’ve made some pretty remarkable memories here, and today we added one more at the @ObamaFoundation Summit. Hearing the stories of the young people shaping our future has reaffirmed for me that there’s no challenge we can’t overcome.
I came to Chicago in my 20s, still trying to figure out who I was. It was there that I found my community and my purpose. Excited to be back here for the @ObamaFoundation Summit to hear some remarkable stories from folks around the world—and share my own. I hope you’ll tune in at obama.org
Samantha Power is a Pulitzer Prize winner, an incredible writer, and a great friend. And from my campaign through all eight years of my presidency, she was a key voice on my foreign policy team. In her highly personal and reflective memoir, The Education of an Idealist, she grapples with the balance between idealism, pragmatism, advocacy and governance. It’s a must-read for anyone who cares about our role in a changing world.
The Pacific has always been a part of me. Growing up in Hawaiʻi and Indonesia, with the guidance of my mother and grandparents, I learned to appreciate the wonders and beauty of the region. During my time in elected office and in the years since, I saw the many ways that the Asia-Pacific region has positioned itself to take advantage of tremendous opportunities. It’s home to a remarkable generation of emerging leaders, women and men poised to take on some of the greatest challenges our planet has ever faced. Earlier this year, I had a chance to meet with a few of these folks as we designed the @ObamaFoundation Leaders: Asia-Pacific program. And today, I’m excited to say that Michelle and I will be joining the program’s inaugural gathering in Malaysia in December. We’ll talk about the importance of ethical leadership—how staying true to your values is the only way to truly carry out lasting change. I couldn’t be prouder of all the leaders selected to join this program—all the work they’ve already accomplished, and all the good work that is yet to come.
As President, I leaned on @ambsusanrice ’s experience, expertise, and willingness to tell me what I needed to hear. In her memoir, Tough Love, you’ll see why. It’s a tribute to American leadership—and a unifying call for us to do our part to protect it. I hope you’ll read it.
Meet William Lucas from Durham, North Carolina. He answered the call when @allontheline asked engaged citizens to come to the state capitol and share their opinions about the legislature’s court-mandated redraw. He showed up, urging lawmakers to go about their business fairly, explaining the ways that gerrymandered maps have hurt his community. If we’re going to win the fight for fair voting districts—not just in North Carolina but all across the country—we need more folks to follow William’s lead. Join @allontheline and help lead the fight for fair voting maps. Sign the citizen commitment at the link in my bio.
At just 16 years old, @GretaThunberg is already one of our planet’s greatest advocates. Her age might have something to do with it. With full knowledge that her generation will bear the heaviest burden of climate change, she’s unafraid to believe that progress is possible—and fight for real change. She’s an example of why Michelle and I started the @ObamaFoundation — because we believe in a future that’s shaped by the courage and hope of young people like Greta.