2008 was a redefining moment in the cultural and political landscape of the United States of America. The election of President Barack Obama was a moment that truly spoke to an American dream that belonged to us all. It was in that moment for many of us a re-imagination of the limits of our possibilities became possible.
I’ll tell you a story. Mayor Kasim Reed of Atlanta told this story of re-imagination. He talked about how he was having lunch and a family noticed him and pointed out their son to the mayor. The child uninterested says, “Oh that’s Mayor Kasim, not like he’s President”. That child’s whole trajectory of success has been forever changed.
The election of President Barack Obama was for many minorities the greatest collective participation in the national dialogue that is our democracy. It was the heralding of our voices with all others that define the American landscape that made that moment. It included our voices and we felt that our voices mattered, that we carried a note in this American song.
This election season has challenged our voices. The battles of the civil rights era have come alive with greater levels of voter suppression than many of us are familiar with in our lifetime. Whether it was the introduction of voter ID Laws, restrictions on early voting or any other exercise targeted at disenfranchisement, our collective voice has been challenged. Out of many, we are one and we all must be given the chance to sing this American song.