My Experience at Grant Park on Nov. 4, 2008 - My Family Travels

I had to write this, 12 hours later, because I was still very emotional and could not put my emotions into words yet 🙂

“5, 4, 3, 2, 1” The countdown to our anticipation, the closing of the west coast polls. Ironically, it would be California, my homestate, that would “seal the deal” for Obama. Finally, as the number “1” was screamed throughout the crowd, an announcement appeared on the big screen in the middle of the non-ticket section of Grant Park. “Obama is elected President” Wait! It came all too quickly for me to realize what was going on and, in fact, it was the cheering from the crowd that actually announced his victory to me. I jumped up and down, looked all around, and just began soaking it all in. Then I felt my eyes start to water. In fact, it was not the first time they did that night. I started becoming emotional as the big screen announced that Obama won Ohio, and Pennsylvania, and Florida. The dream was starting to become the present.

I looked around to see if anyone else was tearing up, or if I was just being too emotional. A lady to my 6’oclock position was a waterfall. Another lady had tears running down her cheeks as she grabbed her husband. And to my right, I saw the most humble sight. With the help of the lights illuminating off of the truck where the big screen stood, the reflection of a grown 40 year old man’s eyes showed proof of tears. You know what these three people around me had in common? They were people of color, Hispanic and African-American. The fight, the struggle was finally over.

 I feel so blessed to have attended a university in Chicago during the 2008 Elections.  I feel so blessed to have casted my very first vote to the very first African-American President of the United States of America, the very first President who has appealed to the current times and the current demographics of their nation, and the very first President who has proved that the American Dream can indeed be attained by anyone. I feel so blessed to have been born a person of multicolor so I could sympathetically experience this moment in history. This has to be the rewarding feeling of living in a democracy and being an American.

I am so impressed, amazed, and simply moved by the amount of people Obama persuaded to go to the polls and vote. On the big screen, they showed the increased amount of Hispanic voters for this year’s elections. And not only was the number surpassing previous years, but the amount of Hispanics who voted democrat had increased, as well. This statistic showed it was not the party, but that it was Obama who had captured the hearts and the hope of this nation. The American people voted for Obama because we love supporting people who have successfully overcome obstacles. It gives us hope, inspiration; we like leaders who can relate to us. “We all have single stories, but they all lead us to one destiny.”….I believe that’s how Obama said it.

As I was watching the big screen, they showed a bird’s eye view of where Ellen and I were standing. I felt like I was in a textbook picture, in the crowd that lined the mall in Washington, DC as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his “I have a dream” speech. However, it was my generation’s version (and Corrina, Jordan, dad, mom’s generational version, as well) of that march and instead of having a dream, we were and are finally living the dream. I still cannot believe that I was a part of this historic ‘March on Chicago.’ And by the way, Mom, Corrina, and Jordan: this is the park across the street from Columbia College and the park that you guys got to actually set foot on!

I also felt a bit of fear. Not so much for my own life, but for Obama’s. The security check to get into the non-ticket side was not very thorough for they only clinched the bottom of my bag to feel the shape of a gun. Talk about a false sense of security! Regardless, I horizontally skimmed all of the buildings around us and looked into the lighted windows and the blue lighted towers on top of the buildings lining across the street from Grant Park. Chicago was well prepared.

I believe that everything happens for a reason, especially in times of many obstacles. As Obama mentioned the death of his grandmother in his presidential acceptance speech, I thought about how awful and inappropriate of a time her death could have occurred only a couple of days before she could experience her grandson become the very first African-American President of the United States. However, I believe God intended for her to be his guardian angel and to protect him.

Finally, the streets emanated calmness as everyone started to disperse from Grant Park. There were like 200,000 people walking the streets of Michigan Avenue, but it felt and sounded like the flow of a creek, peaceful and at ease.


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