Today is the beginning of a new era and a day history is made. Today, Barack Hussein Obama will take the oath of office as this country’s first African-American president, elected by a generation that included these kids’ parents. Who could have foretold that in 2009 Obama’s inauguration would be a convergence, coming back-to-back with Monday’s federal holiday honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the beginning of Obama’s presidency?
Not only is Obama’s inaugural day deep with symbolism, but a passing of the torch, among one generation who fought for the rights of others to another who are benefiting from those rights. In 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke about a dream of equality in a speech in Washington, D.C. and 46 years later in the same city, we are witnessing a dream become reality. Martin Luther King must be happy. However, we must also not automatically presume the election of President Obama means we have magically entered a “post-racial” society; not when there is evidence of the ongoing forms of institutional racism.
Today’s inauguration lays the foundation and the groundwork to continue Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s unfinished work. It has also created a sincere and genuine atmosphere of change, not because Obama is president, but the HOPE that he inspires.
Today, history is made, a new chapter in our history is about to begin. We cannot go back to business as usual.