Black in America

Taqwaa Falaq Saleem and her mother, Sheri Saleem Scott.
Taqwaa Falaq Saleem and her mother, Sheri Saleem Scott.

The place to be for Americans on Tuesday, January 20, 2009 was the Inauguration of our nation’s 44th President, Barack Obama. Whether you were taking in the festivities in person or electronically via television or the internet, to be alive in your right mind on that day in these United States and not grasp the magnitude of history taking place is an existence beyond my under standing.

I was blessed to be in the painfully cold Washington, D.C. to feel the energy and take part in the celebration. My family journeyed as one of ten groups traveling with Kelly Tours with some of my mother’s Girl Scouts, their parents, and friends. One of the single most gratifying experiences of my life thus far was standing next to my mother and witnessing a man of intelligence, humility, innovation, and respect stand and take the oath of office as his wife and family looked on lovingly.

The most memorable part of the occasion was the spirit of the people gathered to be audience to the inauguration. Everyone had a special role in the American family. Smiles and nods were signs of recognition that if we all had nothing else in common, we were all united in support of a new era in our country and the embrace of the potential greatness of change. A hush fell over the National Mall as we listened to the Inaugural Address to learn of our president’s plan for gradual, yet steady, change in the United States. We stood listening to a man who appreciates the diversity in this country and understands that we can disagree with one another without becoming disagreeable.

Being black in America on that day was about being proud to see a man of color in the highest leadership role in the country and about recognizing that ethnicity does not define Barack Obama. Our new President commands respect because he epitomizes the result of dreams having been partnered with hard work and determination. Barack Obama was, as I have often said, prepared for opportunities for success.

Being black in America on Inauguration day was about being proud of our new President, being proud of ourselves for asserting our voices and voting, and being proud of America on the pulse of a new and exciting morning.

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