Guest Post by Teia Collier:
It was a very, cold day in January when President Barack Obama was sworn into office. There was a chill in the air and the buzz of energy that Washington had not seen in a generation. The skies were clear and nearly two million people peacefully crowded into the city that President Washington helped to build. There were laughter and tears, shouts of joy and solemn silences. I saw old men take slow laborious steps toward the Capitol and troops of Girl Scouts greeting us near the Arlington Cemetery. Daddy laughed with Marines as people danced in the streets around security barriers. It was mercilessly cold. The wind whipped through the crowd of people as the sea somewhat parted for the black Secret Service vehicles.
Mommy met people from Alaska, a sweet couple from Chicago, two cowboys from Austin, a gay couple from San Francisco and an old black lawyer from Boston who quietly cried for most of the morning. She stood shoulder to shoulder with people that she had never known and shared a dream that some never believed would come.
I know that right now, at 3 and 1, it doesn’t seem that important, that to you it was just an ordinary day at Grandma’s house. But I imagine if it hadn’t been nap time that you would have heard Grandma hoop and holler and seen tears shimmer in her eyes because she grew up in a time when a man that looked black could never become President because “It was just not done.”
But this was a special day, President Obama’s election, inauguration and eventual swearing-in to office marks a turning of a page for America. He is our first African American President. He, like you, and by nature of who he is, carries the blood of Africans that were once slaves, people with limited opportunities and limits on their dreams that now live free in America. Like you, he represents the beauty of America, where blending is possible and old standards are challenged and overcome. I stood in the crowd of people, waiting for this special moment in history and smiled as people spoke of “hope” and “freedom.” My thoughts returned to you.
Be free, Lovelies. Know what it means to be free.
Free is a powerful word. It means hope. It means choice and responsibility. It means that you really can grow up to be anything that you can dream of and are willing to work for, that there are no limits on your dreams and that you can stand tall, shoulder to shoulder by anyone and be equal; share a dream and a reality. It’s a beautiful thing.