Thursday, January 29, 2009

Sit, Walk, Run, Win, Fly

I am struck once again by the enormity of the election of the person, Barack Obama (putting aside politics for a moment). Discussions are happening everywhere about the impact of having an African American president. I don't consider myself a writer. Its been written about - and better - elsewhere. However, I am one of millions who has been changed and inspired by what has happened.

Dr. Martin Luther King Junior's famous words, "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" speaks not of evolving to a place in our society where we are all 'color blind.' It’s about seeing the whole person without passing judgment based on our preconceived ideas regarding color. Equality isn't about making everyone the same. It’s about equality of value.

Recognizing Obama's color is important because in acknowledging it, we honor the significant history of an entire group of people that goes along with it. The oppression, violence, racism, hatred, suffering, and hard work experienced by African Americans is recognized and remembered.

I can only speculate on the impact this is having on people of color. Overnight, a whole group was raised up. Ideas of self worth and identity have been shifted. I think specifically of the generation of children growing up right now. Of African American boys and girls who have the first family to look to, to dream their own dreams. It’s not just Barack that is making an impact. Michelle's strength, grace, and comfort in her own body inspires me. Their girls bring with them great hope and will be a joy to watch.

Racism isn't over. A lot of work still needs to be done and I hope we never stop talking about this. I want to read about the studies done years later on the impact Barack and his family has made, and not just in our own country. I believe the effects will extend beyond those in the minority group of African Americans but to other minority groups as well. People of other colors, religious beliefs, sexual preferences, and different abilities are given hope to dream bigger dreams. Because it’s about striving for equality for all while embracing our differences and honoring the history that comes with them. I have a dream that one day Sophie will not be judged by her diagnosis or the shape of her eyes but by the content of her character. It is possible and there is much work to be done.

Rosa Sat so Martin could Walk. Martin Walked. So Barack could Run. Barack Ran. He Ran and he Won so all our children could Fly. Thank you Libbey for sending me this simple but powerful song.

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