Thursday, November 6, 2008

From the heart

I'm only 23 years old, and I realize that my short time on this Earth has shielded me from many of the injustices that my people have faced in the U.S. However, as a Black Woman I recognize the rich history that we have- my mother was among the first bused into white schools in my hometown of Columbus, Ohio, my grandmother grew up on the land our family share-cropped in Tennessee and my great great great grandfather fought in the Civil War and, with his brother, used their compensation to buy the land for what became one of the first freed-slave communities in Dickson County, TN.
Even with a past filled with progress and achievement, my family, like many others, deals with many of the issues that plague Black Americans: poverty, drug use, crime, broken homes, etc. I grew up plainly working class with my mother and my sister, and while she did everything she could to give me all that I needed and always let me know that I could do anything if I set my mind to it, I always had a small bit of doubt that I could really make it.
I've had the good fortune, upbringing and support to have achieved some of my own dreams already in life (graduating from college and moving to the city to try to start my career)- but never really knew just how bogged down by doubt and lack of confidence that I was. I never knew how deeply ingrained those feelings of low self-worth and helplessness were in my psyche- until I felt a great deal of them lifted when it was announced that Senator Obama would soon be President Obama.

Four years ago in Cambridge, on Harvard's campus, I sat with my close friends as we waited for the results of the Kerry-Bush election. When all was said and done the room was silent all but for quiet curses and weeping.
Two days ago I cried again, harder and stronger than I did before- but this time they were tears of joy. I was happy that change would come, excited for a leader that could inspire such unity in people all over the world, and most of all HOPEFUL for the future that my little sister, my cousins and my future children will have. They will grow up in a world where anything is possible, they won't have to say "I want to be the first Black President," they can just follow their dreams and a path that has already been set.
Some of my friends and I were talking (i.e. what Kaya mentions below)- and we realize and accept that we have been a pretty cynical generation. We haven't experienced much monumental change for the better in our lifetimes- 9/11, Katrina, the War.. time and time again things have gotten worse and worse. But this is the first time for us that something major has happened. Something amazing has occurred.

This is the first time that we not only have hope- but can believe in it.

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