President Barack Obama

Words cannot express how I feel today as Barack Obama is sworn in as our 44th President. When he was announced as the winner in November, I felt pride, a sense of visibility…joy. Today I feel a kinship across generations with my fellow African Americans…not just black people, but those who have the experience of slavery, cotton fields, crowded inner cities, crime, discrimination, marginalization, segregation, fear, sadness, powerlessness, and brokeness because of the color of their skin in this country, in America.

I watched President Obama’s inauguration with my friends C. and F. Together we sat silently as we watched President Obama ever so nervously take the oath of office. We willed him to shine on this day in a way that only those who know, you sometimes only get one chance, if you get one. We rejoiced in his words that not only touched on the spirit and history of our country, but also the spirit of the people he represents, if only ever so slightly, if only because his skin is brown. His brief acknowledgement of segregation and the recognition that only a generation ago, I could not have eaten at the same counters or taken a drink from the same fountain because I was seen as less than made my heart sing. Because while in this moment we celebrate, we can not forget the depth of his election to office. Only in the worst of times could the best attributes of my people be allowed to shine, as they always have. I can’t help but think that in a better situation, Barack Obama might not have been considered. Yes, I have faith in my fellow man, but I’m from Mississippi. I hold no idealistic beliefs regarding how some see me or my people. I see the destruction of the past in my people every day and I know how we are interpreted by some.

Today I feel joyful that some one like me, with a family like mine shows the best of who my people are. I rejoice in the spirit that has swept this country. I celebrate the resilient American spirit. And I pray that I never experience my parents’ and grandparents’ dispair at the loss of a man only seeking to make the world better.

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