Yes, We Can

Posted: November 7, 2008 in Politics


Growing up, Black History, to me at least, consisted of repetitive information about Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcom X, Harriet Tubman and Booker T. Washington among others. This was the case from the classroom to the church.

Sure, it was good information and gave me a sense of from whence I came, but that’s were it ended. It was the 80s and 90s now. And while problems still existed, I fortunately didn’t have to deal with some of the struggles like my parents, grandparents and people I read about had to experience.

So, in many ways, I couldn’t relate. I often watched and cringed at old civil rights footage and listened to my relatives talk about the feeling they had back in the 60s hearing Dr. King speak. I marveled and wondered what that time period was like and how they made it through.

But at the end of the day, I still couldn’t relate.

I never felt the way they felt.  I didn’t understand the pride that they showed when they had moments of reflection. Outside of Sports, there were few

In February of 2007, a young black senator from Illinois launched a campaign for President of the United States. Barack Obama. Many, including those in the black community, never game him a chance. Not for the fact that he wasn’t qualified. I attributed it to the mere fact that, because of history, people just couldn’t fathom the idea of a person of color actually winning the presidency.

Times hadn’t changed that much, had they?

As time progressed, I saw the potential. The potential for change. Many others who looked like me and talked like me saw the same thing. Throughout the primaries, to the debates, battling Hilary Clinton and eventually with the securing of the nomination, an excitement and optimism overcame me. We had hope. He was our guy.

I shared with the girlfriend how I felt above. And because of Obama, how the feeling I had heard about many times before had begun to ignite within.

Yes, we can.

There was a unique pride I felt every time I heard Sen. Obama speak. And although I’d voted before, I’d never been so involved and interested in politics as I was this year. I never missed a debate, educate myself on the issues, wore the gear and encouraged family and friends to do the same. Like generations before, Sen. Obama had given people, particularly those of color hope.

Yes, we can.

So on Tuesday, Nov. 4, I was up at 5:50 am, eager to vote. This was my first time voting in Connecticut, so I wanted to make sure I was there in time and that everything went smooth. And, much to my surprise, it did. I was in and out in 20 minutes.

Never before had I had a day so filled with such anxiousness. I was glued to CNN all day and while I got my work done, nothing was more important than what I hoped was about to occur later in the day. I called my parents, other relatives and friends to share my excitement and to make sure they had exercised their right to vote.

That night, I join some of my closest friends to watch history. We laughed, joked, drank and cheered every time Wolf Blitzer made a projection for Sen. Obama. We watched attentively to the key states — Pennsylvania, Ohio, Virginia among others.

At about 11 p.m., our lives and worlds changed forever as Sen. Obama was projected as the winner and President-elect of the United States of America. Cheers echoed throughout the condo and while we couldn’t physically hear them, we heard them in our minds from people across the country and world.

Yes, we can

I watched and cheered in amazement and awe. Admittedly, my eyes moistened up a bit. I called my parents, two people who remember hearing Dr. King speak when they were children, to share this moment with them. I did the same with my grandmother.

No matter how much I write, words can’t describe the feeling I had and still have. President-elect Obama has preached change and hope throughout his career and campaign. With his election, our country has changed and, as a result, has given millions a new sense of hope.

Yes, we can.


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