Submitted by ljzmami
"Look Mommy, it's Barack Obama!" That's what my 3-year-old daughter LJ exclaims whenever she sees his picture, which is, like, every day, everywhere. I live in in Brooklyn, home of Chris Rock, Biggie Smalls, Jay-Z. This community has had it rough, and the livin' ain't easy. But on November 4 in Bed-Stuy, the air was electric.
LJ wanted to come to the voting booth with me. Part of me wanted her there, to be a part of history in the making. I was fully prepared to stand in a three-hour line (It took just over an hour), and I wasn't sure she'd last that long. She settled for rocking her "Obama Baby" T-shirt, which she's worn throughout the campaign, every primary, every debate, and finally on Election Day for good luck. When I picked her up from school, she asked, "Mommy, did you vote for Barack Obama?" I sure did. The moment I pulled the lever, something shifted. It was the rumblings of change.
We watched the returns come in with my closest friends. We were all on pins and needles. And when we saw that number of electorates jump to 297, we were all incredulous. We wept. We hugged. This was Our Moment, for sure.
It's been over a week since the election, and I'm still pinching myself. Every time I think about the impact of Barack Obama's historic presidential win, shivers go up my spine. I read op-eds
like this and I get teary-eyed, choked up.
But I realize something: When this happens, not only am I weeping for the past, for the hundreds of years of oppression, slain ancestors and slavery, for those like Martin Luther King, for Malcolm X, Medger Evers, who fought for civil rights for as long as Barack Obama has been alive, but I weep for the future. I look at the faces of our next president, his strong, stunning wife, and those precious girls, Sasha and Malia, and I think, OH MY GOD, my daughter is going to grow up in a world where a black family is in the White House!
When I was growing up in a California suburb, there was NO ONE who looked like me anywhere—not in school or in magazines, on television—not a single Charlie's Angel or anyone! That had a devastating effect on my self-esteem. My parents kept telling me that I could be whatever I set my mind to, and I knew I was smart enough, but part of me didn't really believe the hype. By the time The Cosby Show made its debut, I was already too jaded to think that a black doctor and black lawyer could somehow be a reality.
But the Obamas trump the Huxtables any day, because they are REAL. And they look like us: mixed, brown, beautiful. Now, when I tell my daughter that she can grow up to be anything or anyone, she can believe it, but more importantly, she can achieve it. This year, America voted for its future, and as a mother of color, I am so proud, so humbled, and so completely blown away. But to my daughter
, this will just be normal. And that's all a mother could want for her child.