Saturday, November 08, 2008

President-elect Obama: "A new dawn of American leadership is at hand."

"Barack Obama is our next president." Typing that statement still overwhelms me with emotion. I've watched his speech three or four times and have the same feeling.

I am a very passionate and emotional person, but I don't shed tears often. On Tuesday, as the screen flashed the statement above in big, bold letters, I could feel the emotion welling up from my chest. As I stood in the middle of 6000 African-American people crying, dancing, praying, and some in complete shock, I wondered if I had the right to be so overcome with emotion. After all, I'm not Black...I haven't endured what they have to get to this day.

I held back the tears until I started receiving multiple phone calls and text messages, most of which were from the young adults that we have dubbed the apathetic generation...all of whom were Black and Hispanic. The emotion came faster than I could hold it back. My tears were for them.

For the 23-year old young man who text'd me after he voted, explaining:

"Obama's my idol! He just became one of the reasons I want to make sure I pursue my degree and perfect my speaking skills. He presents himself in a way that I wish I could at interviews and important outings."
For the 25-year old African-American teacher who explained to me that she thought she had high expectations for all of her students, but after Obama became president, she realized she had never thought it would be realistic for her African-American students to say, "I want to be President."

For the 23-year old young man who has worked hard to get past neighborhood influences of drug dealing, friends who are in prison for murder, and friends who have been killed...but who called two days after the election saying, "You've got to help me find a newspaper from yesterday! I want to frame it!"

For the White grandmother who called me in tears Tuesday night because, though she is a democrat and an Obama supporter, this election has a whole new impact on her because of her 3-year old bi-racial grandchild.

My tears came because of the African-American children I have known for years...and how I know this election impacted them.

But my tears also came because I know this election was for ALL of us. As Barack Obama said in his speech on Tuesday night,

"...our stories are singular, but our destiny is shared, and a new dawn of American leadership is at hand."
We are all connected.

My hope...and the reason I voted for Barack because I believe he will help us understand that we ALL have a shared destiny. I believe he will help us see that people of all cultures, ethnicities, skin colors, and places of the world need each other and can benefit from the relationships that develop.
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