January 20, 2009

Inauguration Day @ Miami Dade College, North Campus

It was the moment for which we had all been waiting, yet here seemed to be a lingering apprehension, especially among the older staff and faculty who had lived through a segregated city and campus at Miami Dade College: Could this really be happening?

Although there were many gathering spots on the campus, including the Breezeway and selected classrooms, I chose to go to the Lehman Theater because I knew several of my friends would be there. Sure enough, Josett Peat, Patti Harris, and Elaine Perez-Mirabal were there in the overflow crowd of the theater.

We filed in early and took our seats. The audience was largely upbeat as they listened to Councilman Andre Williams from Miami Gardens explain the significance of the event. Then, we watched the video feed with the flow of dignitaries of the screen, and the youthful energy became evident in hoots and jibes whenever the image of President George W. Bush flashed across the screen.

The time had come: The swearing in of Barack Hussein Obama as the 44th President of the United States of America. It was as if we were all collectively holding our breath. The campus was quiet. I don’t think in the 30+ years that I’ve been at the college, it has ever been that quiet.

Mr. Obama seemed confident as he stepped up take the oath of office and when he stumbled over a few words, one young lady exclaimed protectively: “He’s only human.” That stopped a few nervous giggles and the cleaning ladies nodded approvingly.

I stayed to listen to Elizabeth Alexander’s poem and the benediction by Dr. Joseph Lowery. As we strolled across the campus to our respective offices, Josett, Elaine, and I could hear some of our co-workers sighing: “The nightmare is over. Now the work begins.” And then Josett whispered a sentiment that has seemed to echo across the country, “I wish some of my friends could have been here to see this day.”

We all wish, Josett. We all wish

Overflow Crowd

Inauguration DayLehman Theater



J.M said...

It's fantastic to be alive to see this. One of my friends remarked that he will be grey in a year. Maybe, I hope the great show of support today will still be there in other ways that matter.

Anonymous said...

i spent yesterday with a friend who kept saying how "giddy" she was knowing that Obama was about to take office. i watched it with my 5 year old son--amazing that the bush years are finally over and we can get going again!

ruthibel said...

I feel so honoured to be alive to witness this awesome moment in black history... seriously. I've been telling people all day that I've always envied the people who were there to see such significant black historical moments as MLK's 'I HAve A Dream Speech'. I feel like I just got my fill of something like that. Though I've always been passionate about black rights, I feel like I just got a full tank of fuel to run on again.

I have a story to tell my little black kids... it make me weepy.

Geoffrey Philp said...

Jacqueline, it is great to be allive in this time... the grey will come no matter what. It's what we do while the grey is coming


Geoffrey Philp said...

Ruthibelle, I hadn't planned to do anything but enjoy the day, but when everything started piling up, I knew I had to write about it...

Geoffrey Philp said...

artpredator,i too felt "giddy" and know, especially for the children, this is a great time for them