Tuesday, January 20, 2009

"It's enough to be here."

I have been listening to the news since early this morning, NPR, CNN and now ABC as they cover the inauguration of Barack Obama. I am not one to watch televised news events. Not being there usually makes it stale and uninteresting for me. And for the last 8 years I have cringed at the word and intinations of our outgoing president. But today, I want to be apart of it. I want to make a memory that I can keep for the rest of my life. And also to help put into perspective the events of my past.

I grew up in the 70s in a suburb outside Boston. I did not know, when I lived it, that it was an historic time too. It was a wealthy suburb, though my family was not wealthy. My mom raised four kids alone and we did not have alot. African American children were being bussed into our town to go to school with us. From second grade onward, til I graduated high school, I went to school with kids from Boston. I remember Angela, who was a tough kid but my friend. In third grade I remember running away from her in home room after we had a verbal interchange. She said I had no lips which is true. My upper lip is very thin. And I said something about her plump, thick lips, though I am not sure what it was, that made her angry enough to chase me around desks in the class room. Somewhere in there was the racial struggle that we were thrown into. And yet 10 years later we all graduated together. Yes, there were upsets and fight, racial slurs and discrimination. I remember one snowy day waiting for the dismissal bus outside the high school and a snow ball fight turned into a brawl between the white and African American students.

30 years later I am still making sense of that experience. I have recently been back in touch through Facebook with a guy I knew back then. I always remembered him as funny and gentle. He tried to keep the peace between the races but also tried to be a friend to everyone. I have not seen him in 30 years but still have great affection for him.

I know today means so much to so many. We all have a history of experiences that form our lives. Many people have layed their hopes on Barack Obama. I hope his shoulders can carry them all. He carries my hopes for a kinder, gentler world, one full of justice and equality. I pray for hima nd his family. I pray for President Obama's safety. I pray that he does not feel the weight of the office but rather the joy of this opportunity to serve the country and the world. I look forward to seeing what is to come of us with Barack at the helm.

I am mostly excited about the fact that my children will never have lived during a time when an African American was not and could not be President of the United States. And I know there are African American children who see the world differently today because the dream that you can be whatever you want to be with hard work and determination reglardless of race is really a reality.

I heard people interviewed on NPR who really are so far away from the activities of the day but care not. Thousands of miles of travel, cold and lack of sleep and still they are just happy to be a part of the event. For them it is enough to just be there. To stand, to make a memory and to represent their history and how it is linked to what is happening this day, right now.

It is enough for me, in Mississippi, to be here, alive and celebrating this day in front of the television. Its enough just to be here.

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