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Monday, January 19, 2009

Smiling ad Crying for Obama

I am sitting in front of the television watching the Kenyan Boy's Choir dancing for Obama and I can't help crying. I have been to Africa, I have known Kenyans. I have danced with Tanzanians, Nigerians, Kenyans, and Zanzabaris in the streets on the continent. But I had to travel so long and so far to meet my sisters and brothers.  

We as African Americans have never danced with our cousins in the streets of the United States. And when we as African Americans have danced in our own streets, we have always had to keep one eye open for the brutality of our state's police forces who were ready to stop our dancing with guns. We have never seen our African cousins on the dais at distinguished national events. And before Obama, we have never seen our faces so well represented in so many places. We have never had this chance to be this proud.

This is our moment. It is also our country's moment. It is our moment of healing: this inauguration. This is America's chance to begin to undo a history of  shame and injustice. It is our chance finally to undo the damage done by our ancestors, to heal the wounds inflicted on our ancestors. It is our chance to remember and to heal a past marked by slavery, lynching, segregation, and discrimination. It is our chance to replace hate with love.

Kenyans are so happy. We African Americans are so happy. But I can't help crying too. We have waited for so long.  African Americans have waited so long. Africans have waited for so long. America has waited for too long.

Will we now, finally, have the chance as peoples to dance in our own streets? Will we be treated with dignity and respect now? To believe that another world is possible makes us smile; to remember the lives we have been forced to live for centuries makes us cry. 

No matter what Obama does as a president, his election has given us this moment, this moment of hope. For the first time we are able to imagine that another world is possible.

Thank You Kenya, for sending us your son; thank you Kansas for sending us your son. Thank you America for pursuing King's dream. We shall overcome.