Obama Inauguration: We had to be there!


On November 4, 2008, Barack Obama was elected the 44th President of the United States of America, and on January 20,

President Obama's daughters, Malia and Sasha, pictured with their grandmother Marian Robinson and aunt Maya Soetoro-Ng.
President Obama’s daughters, Malia and Sasha, pictured with their grandmother Marian Robinson and aunt Maya Soetoro-Ng.
2009, we, along with approximately two million other citizens of the United States and numerous other countries, simply had to be
President and First Lady Barack and Michelle Obama at the Neighborhood Inaugural Ball.
President and First Lady Barack and Michelle Obama at the Neighborhood Inaugural Ball.
in Washington, DC to witness the Presidential Inauguration.

There are several reasons for our yearning to witness the inauguration in person.

First, as African- Americans, we see the Obama victory as a partial fulfillment of the dream that was so eloquently articulated
by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. when he said that citizens should be judged by the content of their character, and
that America should live up to its promises of equality, opportunity and justice for all. It was apparent to all of
us that Obama was by far the best qualified of all the candidates for President. However, we simply could not believe
that a clear majority of white Americans would ever help make this a reality.

We had to be in Washington to

witness the Obama Inauguration to honor our ancestors and to allow our children to experience history. Many of our ancestors suffered,
and in many instances, died so that we could enjoy all of the rights and privileges of first class citizenship. This
includes the right to serve our country in every possible position, even the American Presidency. Moreover, for our children and generations
yet unborn, the Obama success should ignite in them new and even greater aspirations. They will know that every goal is
within their grasp.

We had to attend the Inauguration of the first African- American to serve as President of the United

States of America to be inspired to do more to redirect our young people. Our prisons are overcrowded with young, African-
American males and the greatest killer of our young men is homicide… Black people killing other Black people. We needed to
be inspired to do more to encourage our young people to stay in school, avoid crime and drug abuse, and aspire
to greatness.

We had to be in Washington because an Obama Presidency could signal an historic shift of atti- tudes and

policies for our nation…the first real transitional government in our lifetimes. Hopefully, the change will not be too late, since we
are facing some of the worst conditions our country has ever experienced, including economic turmoil, two (2) wars, a ruined national
economy, and rapidly declining international prestige caused by failed policies.

We had to be in Washington because these desperate and trying

times cry out for new vision, new direction and new leadership. Barack Obama is the man for these times. He appeals
to the enlightened part of our national spirit, and he has promoted inclusiveness and encouraged us to unite as Americans. If
his historic campaign foretells the future, he will be able to use his charisma, calm, and toughness to help our nation
navigate the stormy seas ahead and put us back on course.

More importantly, Obama has energized Americans of all walks of

life to get involved in the process and to pay attention to their government. We had to be there to be
energized, inspired and encouraged. If we are to recover as a nation, it will be because ordinary citizens take their government
back from the entrenched special interests groups.

We had to be there so that we would be able to share the

experience with our families, friends and thousands of

Tribune readers. That is what we are attempting to do in this

special edition. We covered through our photography the following Inaugural events: Harvard Law Alumni Reception; Jack and Jill of America Children’s
Inaugural Ball; a visit with California Lt. Governor John Garamendi at The National Air and Space Museum; the Georgia Democratic Party Brunch; the Obama Swearing-in Ceremony; the Alston & Bird Reception; and the Southern States Inaugural Ball.

Yes, we just had to be there, and we are glad that we were!

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