As the inauguration day of President elect Barack Obama draws closer the anticipation and excitement level is building to a point that reflects the significance and importance of the first Black man elected as President of the United States.
During the course of our lifetime there are a few times where we actually get to prepare and anticipate history being made right in front of our eyes. It could be said that the last time anything this significant has happened was when the world sat and watched history when Neil Armstrong first stepped out onto the moon. Everybody stopped whatever they were doing, tuned in a television to watch this momentous occasion. On Janaury 20th, once again, everybody will stop and watch history unfold right before our eyes.
As this gets closer and closer, here at La Prensa San Diego, we have received call after call letting us know of their plans to attend the inauguration. The excitement in their voice, the anticipation of attending something that is bigger than all of us is palpable in their voice. Most of these folks are going with ticket in hand. A few are just going to be near where history will be made. A once in a life time event! The cost and overcrowding are a concern but for those going to Washington, D.C., these seem to be small sacrifices just for the opportunity to be there and be a part of history.
Local viewing events are being arranged so that anyone and everyone who wants to celebrate with friends and neighbors have a place to go and share in this momentous occasion. Public libraries, community centers, restaurants are hosting parties. It has the same feel and atmosphere of Super Bowl week, but bigger. We all took part in this event. We became involved, donated money, and voted. We all have a stake in this Presidency and we all need change to occur.
For the youth of our society, especially the children of color, this is a time where they will see the diversity of our society and the understanding that they to could some day become President, often a statement made to the young to inspire but before now, never realized. We have heard that most schools indeed will allow classrooms to turn on their televisions to watch history. We have also heard that some classes, especially in the primary grades, will be denied this opportunity. We hope this is not true. We hope that all are allowed to watch so that they can remember this day.
And it is not lost on us the significance of this inauguration and the celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr Day, January 19, the man and the movement that fought for freedom and equality not only for the African-American, but for all minorities.
As we watch the inauguration we can now realize that we have taken one giant step toward realizing the Dream of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.:
And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.
I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
I have a dream today!
I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of “interposition” and “nullification” one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.
I have a dream today!
I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; “and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.”2
This is our hope, and this is the faith that I go back to the South with.
With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.
And this will be the day this will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with new meaning:
My country ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing.
Land where my fathers died, land of the Pilgrim’s pride,
From every mountainside, let freedom ring!
And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true.