November 5, 2008

Obama's Victory: Celebrate, but don't forget...

Donna Vivar

I woke up this morning still in shock. Barack Obama, a person of color, is our country’s next president! Along with many fellow Americans, his words last night brought me to tears. For the first time in awhile, I have hope. We have a president that once again is for the people. He is a voice and an ally to marginalized communities. And it does not stop there! We also have a nation of people that are ready for change, that rallied together to make this happen. The crowds of people full of passion and hope had me waking up feeling different this morning. All the patience, heartaches, joys, challenges, and hard work are paying off as a person fighting for social justice in this country. This is definitely a time for celebration as we recognize history being made.

In addition to pausing for a moment to enjoy the breaking of a glass ceiling for folks of color (do you hear the beautiful shatter?), I also want to recognize the voices of various media commentators implying that Barack Obama’s victory is proof that we have reached racial equality, that now anything is possible, and there is equal opportunity for all in this country. It is true that history has been made and change is in the making, but I would also like to urge people to remember that this is just the beginning. Racial equality has not yet been reached, equal opportunity is not yet for all (NOTE: As I am typing away, Prop. 8 Banning same sex-marriage again is California is close to passing), but yes, I believe anything is possible.

For all of us with fire in our bellies who believe in basic values of equality and respect (regardless of political affiliation) need to keep going! There is still so much work to be done. Whether you are a grassroots organizer, a student, a family man or woman, or just someone that speaks out when someone makes a racist comment or phrase like, “That’s so gay,” we need to keep working for a just society.

So…enjoy the day, celebrate, and rest up from all of the excitement because we still have work to do.