Opinion

It’s no longer just a Dream | Obama wins presidency

The Dream is finally a reality.

Almost half a century ago, Martin Luther King Jr. gave his “I have a dream” speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC.

He inspired our country to believe that there was a better America to be had, despite our violent history. As an African-American, I wept openly on Nov. 4 as we saw that dream become a reality.

I came to America in the early ‘80s from the small Caribbean island of Jamaica to attend university in California. In Jamaica, race had never been an issue. Whether you were black, white or Asian never mattered. We were all just Jamaicans.

My parents raised me with the work ethic and self-esteem to tackle whatever life would throw at me. However, within two weeks of being in this country, I had the “n” word screamed at me from a passing car.

I was completely shocked. Here I was in America, the land of opportunity and equality, yet all some people saw was the color of my skin. It was a rough few years, where I always felt I had to work harder and smarter than my counterparts, whether in school or eventually in the workforce. It never stopped me from achieving the American Dream, it was just a more challenging journey than some people had.

I got married to a wonderful, hard-working African-American man and had two beautiful children. We raised our kids in the predominantly white suburbs where they both thrived.

Yet, even as I told them that they could be anything they wanted to be, there was always that nagging doubt in the back of my mind. Could my wonderful, smart, black children really be able to attain any goal they set their mind to and worked hard for? How about President?

Today, that question has been answered. Yes, they can!

They have no excuse for not achieving their most lofty goals.

Now the sky is the limit.

The sky is the limit for anyone who was ever called a racist or sexist name.

The sky is the limit for anyone who feels they are too poor to succeed.

The sky is the limit for anyone who might feel they don’t have the right “pedigree.”

The sky is the limit for anyone who has a “funny” name.

With the election of a president who is a black man, born to a single mother and African father, raised by his white grandparents, with a name like Barack Hussein Obama, the sky really is the limit.

Putting aside our political affiliations for a moment, I really think it’s important for each person to take a long hard look at their own past and figure out what they want the future to look like for themselves, their families and their country.

Americans have a unique opportunity to show the world who we are and what we’re made of. It’s a chance to repair some of the damage to our international image and again embrace the ideals of our founding fathers.

I would encourage you to sit down with your children and let them know how fortunate they are to be Americans and that with that privilege comes a responsibility to uphold all that is great about this country and work hard to change that which needs to be improved.

On Tuesday, I attended an election night party. Looking around the room we had folks of different ages, genders, races and political persuasions — but by the end of the night, we were all weeping openly and proud to be American.

Proud to be part of that historic moment where Americans took a chance, put aside their racial stereotypes and started down a path that had only been a “dream” in a speech 45 years ago.

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