My family saw a day we thought would never come! The day Barack Obama was elected president of the United States was a day unlike any other!
When we saw him give his speech at the 2004 DNC we were impressed. We looked forward to a future in which he was a major voice on the political landscape. When he won the Democratic nomination we were blown away and I was grateful and ecstatic to witness his acceptance speech in Denver on the anniversary of Dr. King’s I have a Dream Speech and the Poor People’s March on Washington!
Five of the six of us voted early because we were sure we wanted to vote for him and we didn’t want anything to happen that prevented us from casting our vote! Historically we go to the polls and vote in person but we didn’t want to take any chances this year. We also wanted to be available to volunteer if the opportunity presented itself. We wanted to volunteer to get others out to vote. Election Day we awoke with excitement and nervousness. We prayed for his success and the future of our nation. My daughter, an Arizona attorney, was a poll worker and I texted and emailed family and friends to encourage them to go out and vote. The last of the six of us voted on Election Day!
As the polls began to close we watched in anticipation. I was nervous. I was afraid this was not the year, that the vote would not reflect what I hoped for. Some of the early state results showed McCain leading and then the electoral votes for Obama edged up and up until Virginia’s votes came in and CNN called it for Obama!
We shouted! We cried! We called and texted family and friends! As African Americans the dream of many generations had come through. As an American I was so excited for the hope and the blessings of the nation of my birth, the nation that the my ancestors blood, sweat and tears helped to build, the nation that unleashed dogs and water hoses on my ancestors, the nation that has been struggling for equality, the nation that came together for the good of all of us to elect a man who believes it is important to be his brothers and sisters keeper, to empathize with others, to see beyond the narrow confines of one cultural group, one racial group, one religious group, one political perspective to include all of us.
I called my 86 year old Great Uncle who since he was young served the NAACP in a small southern town in North Carolina. I called him to congratulate him and to think him for his undying commitment and to celebrate with him what he had long been working for! When I reached him at 11pm EST he was just coming in after a long, long day at the polls.
Now we are praying for our new President. We are praying for President Elect Barack Obama. We are praying for his safety and his family’s safety. We are praying that he be guided and that he be blessed with wisdom.
In the excitement of the news of his election my brother said, “I want to help him be successful!” Yes we know that this is a huge job, an enormous task for any human being. We are looking forward to helping our new President do all he can to make America a better nation and to establish good in America and the world.
Aneesah Nadir, MSW, PhD