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What Barack Obama Means to Me

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Today, Barack Obama was sworn in as the 44th President of the United States of America. It has been a two year journey to get to this point. Miriam Archibong is President of Spelman College's Student Government Association and was one of many young people to help President Obama win the election. Here is her reflection on his win and the example he has set for her and so many Americans.

 

Less than a year ago I pursued the position of Student Government Association (SGA) President at Spelman College. I knocked on doors, made stump speeches, and passed out campaign literature to those who willingly accepted it and sometimes to those who didn't. My hard work paid off, and by the end of my junior year, I was installed as the 67th SGA President of Spelman College. I was honored to be elected President of an institution that has embodied change since its founding in 1881.

On the national level, Senator Barak Obama was also campaigning. He was knocking on doors, making stump speeches across the nation, and passing out campaign literature to anyone and everyone who would listen. But, never did I imagine that my tenure as the President of Spelman's SGA would coincide with the historical nomination and subsequent election of the first African-American President of the United States. In fact, I was initially skeptical about his electability.

My skepticism did not disappear until after his win. I did not know if the American people would be open-minded enough to elect him to such a highly coveted office. Despite that skepticism, I, along with the women of Spelman and college students across the country campaigned and maintained our avid support for the then Senator Obama. At Spelman we registered 100% of the students eligible to vote on our campus and hundreds in the community. A few days before the election, the Spelman SGA prepared for long lines and created strategies to keep people motivated while waiting. News reports indicated that on Election Day voters could spend several hours in line. So we bought them snacks and bottled water.

The election and now presidency of President Barack Obama marks a turning point in our nation's history and a deeper unification of the American people- something that was virtually unthinkable in the 44 years since the passage of the Voter's Rights Act of 1964.

As a little girl, I remember my grandfather telling me stories about the days when he and other civil rights activists participated in marches, sit-ins, and other forms of protests. Those brave people risked their lives so that following generations could have better ones. Today, my generation boldly embodies the dreams, plans and hopes of our ancestors. As Langston Hughes wrote in his 1925 poem "I too sing America", we've all patiently waited for tomorrow, when we would sit together at the table called equality.

The story of Barack Obama will resound for years to come. He holds a sacred place in our history and confirms that with hard work and concentration, anything is possible. With the dire economic situation facing our nation, we need his inspirational story to keep us encouraged as we begin our journey into adulthood. He has given my generation a story to share with our children, and our children's children. His journey has shown us that regardless of the situation a child is born into, he or she may achieve their hearts' desire so long as they have... the "audacity of hope."


I am so proud of my country!

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