“If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible, who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time, who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.
It’s the answer told by lines that stretched around schools and churches in numbers this nation has never seen, by people who waited three hours and four hours, many for the first time in their lives, because they believed that this time must be different, that their voices could be that difference.
It’s the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled. Americans who sent a message to the world that we have never been just a collection of individuals or a collection of red states and blue states.
We are, and always will be, the United States of America.”
The beginning of the Victory Speech that president elect, Barack Obama spoke to the crowd of thousands at Grant Park in Illinois on Tuesday night. The YouTube link is also there for you to check out as well.
I just got off the phone with my mom. I was telling her that rumor has it that there are bids as high as $300 on Ebay for a copy of the 2 New York Time sitting on my bed. I bought it for her and it’s hers, even though I could totally use that $300! Nonetheless, it is on it’s way to Mama Davis in Toledo, Ohio.
We were talking about the aftermath of the elections and was shocked to hear some of the remarks that people are making there in Ohio. Apparently, they’re “sick of hearing” about the victory and historical landmark that is Barack Obama as the next president of the United States. She had a classmate sit her down and ask her why it was so important to blacks that Barack Obama is the president elect. My mom, dear sweet woman that she is, extremely shocked by the girls lack of historical facts. Instead of calling her a moron and sending her on her way, my mother told her her personal story.
She told the woman that she was born in 1954 in North Carolina. Granted, she moved to New Jersey as a young girl but spent her summers in the south to be with her family. She told her of her favorite Aunt Josie who worked at a diner in town. Aunt Josie was the cook, my mother recollected having to enter the building at the side entrance, rather the main street entrance because she was a black girl. She told her how she remembered seeing water fountains marked “colored” and “white.” She told her that, although she was too young to march, reading about and hearing about the marches on Washington. Lastly, she told her where she was when Martin Luther King died. She told her in what was, I’m sure, a patient tone and the girl was relieved and thanked my mother for her story.
In speaking to my mom, I confessed that the victory is, and never was about race for me. It cannot be about race for me, because I’ve never faced the sort of racial inequality in my life as she had in hers. I know that it’s a difference of how you were raised. I was pretty lucky to live very well and never want for anything for my entire life. My parents rarely said no to the many material requests of my youth. To put it plainly, I was a spoiled brat. And while I was the only black girl in my private, Catholic grade school, and possibly one out of a hundred (give or take) black girls in my private, Catholic, all-girl high school I never felt out of place or different because of the financial freedoms of my family. (Lots more complicated life, and the theme of my memoir) Because of those freedoms it was instilled in my not only by my parents, but by every influential adult in my life that I could do and be what ever it was that I dreamt. I never thought it would be “strange” or “radical” for me, a black girl in Toledo, Ohio to be the president of the United States.
I realize that not all people, people of any color, have had it as good. My ex/last boyfriend/friend, Ty, told me during the primaries that Barack would never win because of the color of his skin. I was appalled, that a black man could say such a thing. It was crazy and insulting for me to listen to him limiting not only Barack, but himself based solely on the color of his skin. I think that’s what’s happening around the world. My mom says that some of the sistas and brothas need to calm it down a bit in the media, but it is cause for celebration. It just shouldn’t be the only cause for celebration.
As I said in my last blog, we clearly have a long way to go in terms of equality in this country. I hope that as we continue to move forward in this historical election that the words spoken in his speech ring through-across racial barriers and into the actual people. While we as a people are often identified by race, creed, sexual orientation, and religion; one fact remains true-we are all people and as people we all deserve the same rights.