Today is the day that Barak Obama is no longer the president of the United States.
Much like when someone you love passes away, today I am filled with memories from the past and I am filled with gratitude for the person we have lost.
These past 8 years have been what I would certainly call my most formative years. I became a woman in the world during this time.
I was 23 years old when the first black President was elected. That was the first time in my life that I felt a real fire ignite in me. This was the first time I REALLY felt that I was a strong voice. Yes, one voice but with enough courage this voice could feel like strength of thousands.
I campaigned for Obama in the middle of West Virginia where people pulled their guns out on us. I felt such certainty about this man as my leader that I stood on porches and had discussions about education, the Iraq war and changing our healthcare system. I had a HOPE poster in my bedroom and I remember jumping up and down as if my heart might burst when he was elected into his first term.
Today, it scares me how unwilling I am to face the facts of what is actually happening. I am surprised by how unsure I am to use the voice I once felt could be so powerful. But in this moment all I can feel is gratitude for Barak Obama, his wife Michelle and their morality, self assuredness and positivity. This rubbed of on the whole world and most certainly on my generation.
Maybe he didn’t change the world in all of the ways that we hoped – but with him in office as the leader of our country – it gave myself and my peers the safe and supported space to develop who we actually have become. And trust me, we are powerful.
I know this feeling might change, but here and now I know where I stand. I know who I am. I know what I believe in. I am not going to say this is all because of Barak Obama but today is when I realized he certainly played a part in it.