The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
January 26, 2011
Dear Mrs. Obama:
Pretend you’re taking a walk with me; that we’re just two people chatting. I’d like to ask you some questions. Can we speak honestly?
Arguably, an education is the most important thing a person can have. The day I graduated from Law School was the biggest day of my life, and it always will be. Some of my friends think it will be replaced by my wedding day. But I disagree because no one can ever take my education away from me.
I am proud of my degree, considering 1/3 of US students don’t graduate high school, and only about 3% of Americans receive a doctorate degree (US Census Bureau 2006). But I’m sure you already know these statics. And you know all too well how hard it is to get into law school, complete law school, and pass the bar exam, and no one can take those accomplishments from me.
You might even agree, since you’ve been quoted as saying that an education will make children better people, and give them a better, brighter future. You’ve said that as Americans we need to encourage children to dream a little bigger and reach a little higher (Your speech honoring the recipients of the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards). Your husband has said, “Education is … a prerequisite to prosperity,” and that, “In the coming decades, a person’s success in life will depend more and more … on a higher education.”
At the Anacostia High School commencement you said, “Part of being a mature and functioning adult in this society is realizing that life is a series of trade-offs. If you want a career that pays a good salary, then you have to work hard. You've got to be on time; you've got to finish what you start.” Mrs. Obama, I’ve always agreed and believed in everything you said. I’ve made a lot of sacrifices. I worked hard. I’m always on time and I have ALWAYS finished what I started. I watched as my friends started to get married and have children, while I hardly had time to leave the law school library to go on a date. I am persistent, and while waiting for my bar results I volunteered. But it’s been eight months since I graduated, and I still do not have a job. In the absence of employment I have started dedicating at least 8 hours per day, 5 days a week, to applying for jobs, following up with people, and networking, but I still do not have a job.
You told the Anacostia graduates, "Don't ever scale back your dreams. And don't ever set limits on what you can achieve. And don't think for one single moment that your destiny is out of your hands, because no one's in control of your destiny but you." I never scaled back my dreams. I did everything everyone told me to do in order to achieve my goals. I stayed in school, earned good grades, and stayed away from drugs. I graduated from college with honors, and went to law school.
My question to you is, why are you urging people to strive for a higher education (necessarily encouraging them to go into mountains of debt) when there are no jobs waiting for them when they get out of school? Why is it that I did everything you are telling America’s youth to do, and I don’t have the successful job you speak of? Can you look me in the eye, and tell me why?
Mrs. Obama, you’ll probably never take a walk with me, but I really hope you listen to this one last thing I have to say: The thought that no one could ever take my education away from me was once inspiring. Now it feels like a jail cell. When you can’t afford your mortgage the bank takes your house away, and you are unsaddled with the crippling feeling of being buried in debt. I can’t give back my education, so I’d like to make a proposal.
President Obama signed into law a $787 billion stimulus package on top of Bush's $700 billion TARP bailout. Since 2008, the government has paid out trillions of dollars in bailouts, handouts, loans and giveaways, with no end in sight. Instead of giving trillions of additional dollars to banks, financial institutions, and other greedy institutions responsible for the economic crisis, the Government should forgive student loan debt, which would have a stimulating effect on the economy. Hard working Americans who pursued a higher education, at your behest, would have thousands of extra dollars to spend, spurring the economy.
I am asking you, since I have done everything you said to do but cannot find a job, can you please help me?
Julia Harris, Esq.
You can put my electronic signature on that one! /s/ Angel T. Lawyer
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