Legal studies major Aissata Ba selected to meet Michelle Obama

November 05, 2021

By Sarah Jordan 

Aissata Ba

Aissata Ba, a second-year legal studies major, has been selected to participate in a special event with Michelle Obama on Tuesday, November 9, 2021.

Ba will attend the in-person event at Prince George’s Community College in Largo, Maryland. This event will feature the former first lady in conversation with a moderator and selected students from 22 participating colleges.

“Michelle Obama is someone I have looked up to since I was a little girl. She represented the fact that anything is possible,” Ba said. “Despite barriers existing for people that look like me, there is a path and a space to make your voice heard.”

Ba is a 20-year-old Black Muslim first-generation American. Her parents immigrated to the U.S. from West Africa before she was born. 

Ba’s dream is to become a civil rights lawyer. “As a minority within a minority, I believe in the power of representation and hope to bring about change so that people of different identities can see themselves reflected in the media,” she said.

At the November 9 event, the conversation will be based on themes from Mrs. Obama’s 2018 memoir, Becoming, with a particular emphasis on issues that are most resonant for college students. Each student will have an opportunity to ask Mrs. Obama a question during the conversation. 

“I hope to gain some perspective on how Mrs. Obama finds her own personal peace despite seeing injustices committed so frequently and particularly against the Black community. I find as a Black woman growing up in America that I can feel exhausted from the weight of injustice,” Ba said. “I am curious to know how she continues seeing light in the world and the good in people. I am hoping that her answer can not only help me find my own peace in navigating the world but also inspire other young people who find themselves deeply affected by images in the media of injustice against bodies of color.”

Ba will chronicle her journey to meet Mrs. Obama on her social media channels. Follow along on Instagram and YouTube

Our campus community will have remote access to the free event. Join by registering with your email address before Friday, November 5, at 8:59 p.m. The Humanities Institute will sponsor Ba’s travel and accommodation, and has facilitated UCSC’s participation in this event as part of their yearlong series on imagination.