“Auntie everything was moving” is what my 11 year old nephew Christiaan said when I asked him what stood out for him today.
What a wonderful day filled with promise.
I waited to send out today’s message and final posting later as we all soaked in the uplifting energy of President Barrack Obama’s Inauguration and the Celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
I sat with my notebook watching the Inauguration wanting to capture the essence of the day through words.
The theme of the Inauguration was“Faith in America’s future”
Sen. Schumer said, “Americans are optimistic, problem solving people. It is time to renew our collective faith in the future of America.”
I was moved by Myrlie Ever Williams words, presence and elegance. Her words were not just religious but spiritual. “As we sing the words of belief, ‘this is my country,’ let us act upon the meaning that everyone is included. May the inherent dignity and inalienable rights of every woman, man, boy and girl be honored. May all your people, especially the least of these, flourish in our blessed nation. One hundred fifty years after the Emancipation Proclamation and 50 years after the March on Washington, we celebrate the spirit of our ancestors, which has allowed us to move from a nation of unborn hopes and a history of disenfranchised [votes] to today’s expression of a more perfect union.”
She went on to say, “their spirit infuse our being to work together with respect, enabling us to continue to build this nation, and in so doing we send a message to the world that we are strong, fierce in our strength, and ever vigilant in our pursuit of freedom.”
Many things stood out from Presidents Obama speech. He had many Dr. Kinglike moments.
I reached for my notebook when he said, “Today we continue a never-ending journey to bridge the meaning of those words with the realities of our time. For history tells us that while these truths may be self-evident, they’ve never been self-executing; that while freedom is a gift from God, it must be secured by His people here on Earth.”
The Presidents words carried the boldness and brightness of the fabric of this country when he said, “We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths –- that all of us are created equal –- is the star that guides us still; just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall; just as it guided all those men and women, sung and unsung, who left footprints along this great Mall, to hear a preacher say that we cannot walk alone; to hear a King proclaim that our individual freedom is inextricably bound to the freedom of every soul on Earth”
My father called me after the speech to share his thoughts. He said, what word did he use over and over again? I said what word Dad? and he said “WE.”
I received an email from Veena, one of the key members of the Encuentro Diaspora Afro family, who shared, “The President's speech included ME.”
I felt that also when he said, “Our journey is not complete until we find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as a land of opportunity; until bright young students and engineers are enlisted in our workforce rather than expelled from our country.”
Because my movement is both in and out of this country, I cannot help but hope that the energy that is uplifting our spirits today, the words of Dr. King and President Obama, will resonate in the waters of Panama.
This week, the UN highlighted Panama’s lack of recognition of history and rejection of its Afrodescendent community. As my friend Ruben Lorenzo shared, “Un gran Hombre es quien nunca se olvida de sus raices.”
We need to lift the energy of exclusion and hate in this country, in Panama and around the world. WE will know we are closer to that mountain top when we recognize our roots and are inclusive of all voices.
As we close out the celebration of the day, reflect on Dr. King’s words beyond today. Let us look to a future filled with promise. Let us all allow this fire to fuel our steps beginning tomorrow. I ask that WE continue on this road together and that we not give up hope.
Myrlie Evers Williams brought forth the energy of Dr. King's Dream. His light embraced her in a way that was moving and grounding. Her words continue to serenade me because they were filled with pain and hope.
Thank you all for joining us on this journey. May her words land on your heart. May we reach back for the energy of today as we take our next steps. May we see the promise of a just and inclusive future.
“There’s something within me that holds the reins. There’s something within me that banishes pain. There’s something within me I cannot explain. But all I know America, there is something within. There is something within.” Myrlie Evers Williams