Sunday, November 09, 2008

Obama Victory is an Inspiration

I know some of my more conservative readers might automatically think, what in the world is she talking about? Let me explain. Although I do not align myself with all that Barack Obama stands for, I am thankful for the inspiration that he has been in winning this National Election. I have a unique perspective on how this President-elect has impacted specifically the African-American community. As many of you know, I teach at a school on the west-side of Chicago.  The demographic is 100% African-American. Although this has been somewhat of a challenging transition for me, I have thoroughly enjoyed the experience of teaching in such a culturally different area (especially compared to my previous job in VA Beach).
The day after the election, students were heard shouting "Obama - Obama- Obama!" in the school hallways. There was a sensation of new hope that came with this new day in American History. Our principal gave an inspiring speech about how there are no excuses left for why anyone cannot become everything that they dream to become. She shared how Obama was not handed everything he got; he worked hard for it. Students were reminded that they need to take advantage of their education and not make any excuses about why they cannot succeed. They have no reason to say now, that their life is too hard or society is against them. Barack Obama has proven that America is a country where any person (no matter their race, gender, or religious views) can have the "American Dream".  What an encouragement! I am personally encouraged with seeing how far our nation has come in the civil rights movement. This truly has been an historic election. One I am sure we will remember for many years to come.  

I want to end with one little interaction between our Chaplain (pastor Hunter) and the students. I wish I would have video taped it, but this is how it went:

Mr Hunter: Good Morning Holy Family!
Students : Cheer and yell, Good morning Mr. Hunter!
Mr. Hunter: I heard a rumor! (in loud excited voice)
Students: A rumor? (in excitement and anticipation)
Mr. Hunter: Yea, I heard a rumor!
Students: A rumor?!  
Mr. Hunter: Yea, that the next President of the United states looks just like YOU!
Students: Loud clapping, cheering, stomping, hooting and hollering!!!!

I am encouraged that these students have a positive African-American role model that doesn't bounce a ball or bust a rhyme. They have someone before them that has applied himself, by getting  a great education and is having an historic impact on our nation and world. 


Laura said...

I agree with you 100%!!! I did not vote for Obama -- I am aprenhensive about much of what he stands for-- Yet, at the same time, I was INCREDIBLY proud of my country this past week. Tuesday, November 4 was truly a historical day. I got goosebumps reading your post. Its about time MLK's dream came true.

Katie Barker said...

Jules - I got goose bumps too! What an inspiring story! I love it - and I'm glad you have this opprotunity in your life to teach at this school. We all get to learn from you and with you!

Karis said...

We also have a different perspective on the election living in Africa. The celebrating in the streets all night long as the votes were counted was crazy here the day of as well as the continued celebration after the election. In fact, I would have been scared to go out for a few days if Obama had lost because as one African told us "if he would have lost, it would have seemed to Africans as continued oppression rather than the end of racism in the U.S." Even his name (being an African name) brings excitement here because he feels even more like them as it's a familiar name. It seems that everyone wants to go the U.S. so their kids can make something of themselves like he has done.

I also don't align myself with President-elect Obama's beliefs either (and ironically either would the people here if they knew what he stands for although that wouldn't keep them from supporting him since he's one of them as that's just the way it's done here -- abortion and homosexuality are illegal here and seen as "evil" -- in this third world, non-Christian country...). Still, God allowed Barack Obama to win and we like you can see "benefits" with those we minister to. Thanks for sharing. It was very interesting to me as we are with not African-Americans but Africans who are energized in a similar way.

Danielle said...

Thanks for sharing your story, Julie. I am experiencing many similar things at the school where I teach, being that our demographics are the same. It's exciting!