Opinion

Thank You, Barack Obama

unknown

Just to be truthful, I am grieving over the fact that our 44th President and his family are getting ready to leave the White House.

President Barack Obama may have been a politician to ‘mainstream’ America, but to the multitude of marginalized citizens in the United States and the World, he is a symbol of the limitless possibilities for those determined to self-edify in efforts to make their individual lives, family, and the world, better.

I remember meeting President Obama a decade ago when he was a senator. A ‘black’ senator who was running for the most powerful seat in the world – President of the United States of America. He shook my hand and said, “How ya doin’?” Spoken to me as if he were my, own, uncle. “I’m alright,” I sincerely replied.

The reality was, I wasn’t alright. I had no healthcare, no financial stability, and only a high school diploma – but an education which allowed me to navigate between ‘worlds’ racially and opportune-wise because I had graduated from a wealthy suburban secondary school in Fairfax, VA. However, it didn’t negate the fact, in that particular stage of my life, I hadn’t had a clue as to where my journey was heading. I was, only, merely cognizant, that I too was a ‘black’ man like the Senator, but the majority of Black people who previously, up until that moment, had internalized a ‘racial’ inferiority complex I inherently believed was my fate.

My life changed, radically, after my encounter with Barack. I wanted to be successful, even when success yielded the impression of impossible; I had hope, and it was hope that challenged me, daily, always to find those alternate paths to victory.

An entire decade has come-to-past since my last and only encounter with President Barack Obama, and in the midst of his inspiring journey, as our nation’s first, I have become whole. From a statistic affected by the ‘racial’ achievement gap in high school to the President of Phi Theta Kappa in college and a graduate of Political Science and now a teacher and a coach. I have come a long way.

My plans include graduate school, law school, and a doctorate. “Ambitious enough?” you may ask. Naw, ’cause I love and live for a life long journey of self-edification; and I owe it to myself, my mother, my grandmother, my family, my students and my community. And I owe it to the trailblazers of Black American History who have travailed through the darkest times from enslavement to the White House illuminating the way for us ALL to follow.

—-

President Barack Obama, thank you for being an excellent example for me and thanks for teaching me that hope can manifest into a tangible thing – A New American Dream.