March is National Reading Month, a whole month designated to encouraging Americans – and by extension Wacoans – to read! The Act Locally Waco blog is beating the drum for National Reading Month by hosting a blog series throughout the month of March, called “Books Matter.” Every day throughout March we will be sharing a post about a Waco resident and a book that matters to him/her. Thank you to students from the Baylor Department of Journalism, Public Relations and New Media and professor Amber Adamson for help with this fun project. To read all the blog posts so far, click here.
By Mary Watson Vergnolle
“If you don’t get out there and define yourself, you’ll be quickly and inaccurately defined by others,” wrote Michelle Obama in her memoir, Becoming.
Since the number one bestseller was released, America hasn’t been able to put down Obama’s Becoming. Dr. Mia Moody-Ramirez, department chair at Baylor University, said she loves how honestly and truthfully the former First Lady of the United States delivers her message about empowerment and overcoming obstacles to the public.
Moody-Ramirez has been with Baylor University for 19 years. She previously worked as a graduate program director for six years before becoming Head of the Department of Journalism, New Media, and Public Relations.
Moody-Ramirez said she has always looked up to Obama as an inspiration and role model for women.
“She was able to overcome many obstacles in her life and still was able to grow up very confidently,” Moody-Ramirez said.
Becoming is told in three parts: Becoming Me, Becoming Us and Becoming More. Moody-Ramirez draws inspiration from the way Obama carried herself as a woman in the public eye.
“I think that we are all becoming in a way,” Moody-Ramirez said. “We tend to be hard on ourselves.”
She said she believes people should always strive to do something important, but also remember that life is a journey. Moody-Ramirez says Obama’s story inspired her because as a woman involved in the political atmosphere, Obama always remained true to herself, despite criticism and intense scrutiny in the public eye.
Moody-Ramirez has had a passion for reading for as long as she can remember. She believes literacy is important in the community because it has been shown to equalize educational pursuits for all students. Moody-Ramirez encourages all people to read more often in order to know, understand and respect other cultures and ways of life.
“There is a whole world out there beyond television and social media,” Moody-Ramirez said. “Reading fosters an imagination and increases the desire to understand other experiences.”
Moody-Ramirez said throughout the book Obama’s grace was evident as she described her life growing up. Moody-Ramirez hopes readers will see Obama’s words as an inspiration to all, especially women, that anything is possible.