If you have been following the inception of this blog, then you know that this post has taken awhile coming. My amazing, brilliant, and gorgeous sister surprised me with this blog, which went live to the world on my birthday. No, pressure, right? And then she follows the initial post with a shout-out to Melissa Harris-Perry, who if you don’t know, you need to ask somebody. Even less pressure, right? I’ve never written on a blog before. It has been hard to think about what to write as my initial post. Not that the world is waiting on my words, but the idea that the whole world wide web, theoretically, could potentially see what I say has a way of instigating some serious writer’s block. I wanted something with significant enough weight, but not too super serious. How could I find my blog voice? (Not to mention, when could I find the time to write with all the other stuff I’m doing – oh and that pesky little dissertation that I’m also supposed to be writing…)
But, today, is November 6th, 2012 – Election Day. And on this day, just a couple of hours ago, like millions of other Americans, I exercised my voice by voting. I, a non-landowning (or even apartment-owning), Black woman, walked myself down to Sedgwick Avenue (just steps away from the birth of hip-hop…) and cast my vote for a Black man (a Black man married to a brilliant and beautiful brown Black woman, I might add) – for President of these United States. Though widely known that it hasn’t always been this way, some facts bear repeating. The intersection of race, class, and gender has intrigued me since my Spelman days – and likely before, but I would not have articulated it as such. Knowing that this particular triumvirate of identities would not have allowed me access to the polls not too long ago is humbling. Knowing that this particular triumvirate of identities is still forcing many others to face voter suppression and intimidation in battleground states is downright frightening. But, if those voters in the past could march and fight, bleed and die. And those voters in the present could wait and wait, and stay and wait… Even while in labor or having just survived a hurricane, then surely, I can muster up the courage to write this little blog post about why this matters to me.
When I think of Ruth and Lola, I think of beauty, grace, and strength. They make me proud to live out the legacy of being a Black woman. Having both been born in the South in 1918 and in 1922, I know they saw some stuff. And having lived the majority of their lives in Cincinnati, Ohio (which some pundits have decided will decide the whole election), I know they saw some stuff. Having both lived until their mid-80s and then going home to be with the Lord in 2006 and 2004, I wonder what they would have made of today. Now, I know 2008 would have blown their minds – I cast my vote in the Presidential election for a Black man who was the nominee of a major party. But, today is an even bigger deal in my mind. Today, I voted for a Black man who IS the President of the United States of America. Wow. I still get chills when I think about it.
And chill doesn’t even begin to describe how I felt on January 20, 2009…
When I stood on the Mall and watched him put his hand on the Bible and take the oath with the beyond fabulous Michelle Obama and their two beautiful daughters by his side.
I mean it was freezing!!! I have never been so cold in my entire life. Yet, I would not have missed it for the world! And I plan to be there freezing again on January 21, 2013 when President Obama takes the oath of office for his second term.
But, of course, the chills run deeper than that… I have chills thinking about what this would have meant to Ruth and to Lola. I voted in their honor today. And I have chills knowing what it means for Malia and Sasha… and millions of other beautiful Black girls.