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Barack Obama: Free at Last, by Kirby Sommers


The largest turnout for a presidential election in the history of the United States has happened today. It has happened at a moment in history where something called change is what’s needed in our country. And, it has happened because change is riding on the wings of a man named Barack Obama.

Martin Luther King must be looking down from the heavens above and for the first time since he delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech (full text HERE) at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. on August 28, 1963, for the first time since that day, he must be rejoicing.

Free at last.

Liberty and justice for all is Barack Obama’s gift to the world.

For everyone. For whites. For blacks. For he is both. His father, Barack Obama Sr is a black man from Africa, and his mother is a white woman from Kansas.

In 1959 the Senior Obama left Kenya and arrived on an airplane as a student in Hawaii to pursue his dream. How different that scenario has been for so many whose ancestors arrived in this country as cargo and sold into slavery to endure the unbearable.

In 2005 I founded Katrina Home Drive, an all volunteer based housing and help group for Katrina evacuees, and I recall being appalled at just how much discrimination was left in our country.

During a phone call to a United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) partner in Arizona, a caseworker told me: “The blacks, well, we’re just not going to let them stay here. We give ‘em a one-way ticket back. This town is not going to be subject to those criminals.”

This woman who worked in a church and was being paid to help Katrina survivors was basically telling me she was going to help who she wanted to, and that did not include “black folks".

I urgently discussed this problem with UMCOR’s Katrina Aid Director Warren Harrity and although it helped bring about a “Bill of Rights” of sorts to ensure evacuees were treated with courtesy and respect, the reality is nothing much changed. I continued to see discrimination from The American Red Cross, FEMA, and almost every help group across the country against African-Americans.

Today Barack Obama has changed the perception of African-Americans as lesser than.

Free at last.

There are few days in our lives we will remember forever. Today is one of those days. We will remember where we were. What we did. What we wore, even. This day will be embedded deep into the imprint of our humanity forever. The air is electrified with excitement and the knowledge that change indeed has arrived. Change will forever be linked to the name Barack Obama.

Every man, every woman, every child is now an equal. And the world is watching in awe.

Free at last.

2008 Copyright Kirby Sommers


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 Martin Luther King

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