Tuesday, January 20, 2009

I Got It....A Proud Day

I’ve experienced my moment of truth, of realization of where I have come from to focus on where I am going. It’s one thing to learn black history in school, attend black history programs, watch civil rights documentaries, listen to Dr. Martin Luther King’s speeches, and read about rally’s for Malcolm X’s; however it’s another experience to actually know that something that I thought could never be possible came true today at the Inauguration Ceremony for President Barack Obama, our nation’s first African American President. At 27 years old, I was born afforded the opportunities to eat anywhere, to sit down on bus seats, to study with children of all races, and vote when I became of age. I had only read about slavery, the struggles against segregation and the need for affirmative action. Despite the opportunities given to me because of those who fought before me; I had never witnessed a Black President, let alone a black person in any major powerful position which led me to believe that it was never a possibility. I can remember getting my first black Barbie doll thinking that it was so nice that it looked like me but wasn’t sure if it was a pretty as the other ones that I have always played with and seen on TV. Unlike my uncertainty of my first black Barbie, I have an overwhelming sense of certainty in my new Black President. Overwhelmed with emotion as I watch the magnitude of crowds standing in the freezing temperatures to watch history being made, and at this very moment I am proud to be American, I am proud to be patriotic. With my pajamas on, I stood up in my bedroom, hand over heart and sang the National Anthem for the first time since high school. During the Inauguration speech the new President said “this is knowing the meaning of our liberty and creed,” which stood out to me because as an adult, I can know say that I know the meaning of the positive change that so many have fought for before me. Understanding the sacrifice of what so many made to afford me this opportunity is amazing in itself. Hearing the excitement in my mother’s voice as she prepared to go to the inauguration, listening to television interviews of past civil rights participants full of emotion from cheers to tears, and daydreaming on what my deceased father would say if he was here today, all bought about a range of emotions in myself. The clarity of the blurry passed will give me a better vision for the future. I am blessed to have experienced this historical election and inauguration first hand. I pray that this change will pave the way for even more non-violent change for the years to come. I hope that my nieces and nephews and future children will recognize how this moment in their past was one that bought hope for me on their futures. The best part of the day for me was the moment when I GOT IT.