Gary’s Story

Days before the election, and I wait with worry, and with hope.

I did not come to this campaign out of a need for hope. That was instilled in me long before this election, out of the past experiences and pain of my family who raised me.

I did not become a newly inspired voter by Obama’s campaign alone. My parents instilled the need to be active and contribute to our community in me from a young age. Being concerned and active was a lifestyle vested in me by generations of family, and others. JFK, RFK, Dr. King, Barbara Jordan, Cesar Chavez, and others like them, helped to instilled and cement hope and activism in me long ago.

Yet, I am here now with worries and needs.

For one told as a young student that anyone can grow up to be president, yet never seeing that occur, this vote to come is import. I need to see that a child of an immigrant can be elected president. That would bring a sense of hope to many here in the United States, and also beyond.

Then I have a greater need. I need to see all of those folks who say they have been inspired to become involved by this campaign, actually become involved. Not just for this fall. Not just for a year or two. Activism as a lifestyle needs to rise from this action, from this election. This is what worries me as I listen to the pundits speak to the numbers and possibilities of this election. If folks who say they have been inspired this year, don’t become active from here on out, no leader will ever be able to help lead this nation forward. Inspiration and hope, democracy, comes from the grassroots up. Not the top down.

We need to be the leaders and facilitators who help create a better world. If this campaign does not inspire many of us to stay aware and involved, it will have been just another election, and will buy into the negative hope of those for whom community activism is a danger. And that is a hope I have no desire for.

This Friday before the election, I have visions for a better future. A place where, who you are really is more important than, where you are from. I now wait to see if others will carry their Fall of hope…. into a life of action.

Gary De La Rosa
Los Angeles, CA

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