This post is mostly for me. It's a selfish post, a need to express an emotion that wells within me, an emotion that touches my core and causes tears to flow - tears of joy. None of these are pictures I took but they are who I am.
My mother and father, God rest their souls. I wish they had lived long enough to see the day that a Black man was elected to be President of the United States. My father enlisted in the army with a dream to fly, to be a part of the 332nd fighter group, The Tuskegee Airmen. He was in the army at a time when Blacks were kept separate from whites - told they weren't good enough and yet it was that Black fighter group that made history and had the most successful list of missions. His depth perception kept him from flying but he gave for this country, a country that considered him inferior.
I'll never forget the night he came home more enraged than I'd ever seen him. He'd been pulled over by the police for no reason, harrassed, called names, shoved against a fence while they frisked him - for no other reason than that he was Black. I'll never forget a cousin that was arrested and before his parents could get to him he was "found" hanged in his cell, and the fight that would ensue of a battle they could never win to prove it was not suicide.
They raised three children in a country that never let them forget they were Black but Praise God, we had a good life. They taught us well, raised us in church and together we celebrated hope when it was there and cried when it was shattered - John Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I still remember standing on the street in a crowd watching Bobby Kennedy drive down the street and waving frantically. I was young, so young, but I knew what he stood for. Hope. I was young but I remember the darkness that fell when he was shot. I remember the darkness that fell when Dr. King was shot.
Both my parents tried to instill in us not to let anyone tell us we couldn't do something. They both had stories and regrets of living in a time where they were discouraged as kids from doing what they wanted, their talents hidden as they were told "you can't do that... you'll never make it... no one will ever hire you to do that".
I am the youngest of three. Even at this early age I didn't escape being called Nigger. I knew my parents hoped for the dream that their children would see less and less of what they had to endure. They watched a world change but still lived in one in which the color of our skin still mattered and was a constant reminder of being told they were inferior, weren't smart enough, were passed over. They watched a world change but I wonder if they ever thought their little girl would one day see the day when she would walk up to a voting booth and cast her vote for a Black presidential candidate. I wonder if they ever thought their little girl would see the day when color didn't matter and a man was looked at for the quality of the man and his character and be elected the President of The United States.
I'm not ashamed to say I've cried tears of joy - tears for the generation of my ancestors who could never have imagined this day; tears of joy for so many who thought it was just a dream.
I never thought this was a day that I would see in my lifetime. It's as if a subconscious hope has been pulled from the depths of my soul and come to life as a reality. To anyone who ever thinks something is just a dream, this day in history shows that dreams can come true. It was just a dream ...and now it is a reality.
Do we still have a little ways to go? Yes. But dear God, thank you for how far we've come as a country, as a people.