Now, at this moment, we have a black president. Black like many black people are, with a lot of other stories woven into his blackness, having organized for justice for years. Black in ways that many black people are not, with known relatives in Kenya and a clear knowledge of his ties to Africa. He and his wife and their daughters are moving slowly through Washington, D.C. This day means so much to so many – there are people who are proudly opting out of feeling much in this moment, but I don’t envy them. I love the babies out in that cold wanting to run along the car, I love the mothers and fathers and children all together screaming with joy, I love each of the elder faces being shown – I love that there are folks who lived their whole lives working for justice, and are experiencing this day as a deliverance. This is a generational moment. Yesterday was about the change that may never come in our lifetimes, and today is about the dreams that get realized, and the work it takes to achieve tangible changes. Of course there is more, and our work is not over. The country is neither post race, nor post partisan difference, nor past militarism in foreign affairs, nor past our economic crisis. That’s not what this moment is. This moment is about who we can see as a leader, facing the monumental and constant crisis of maintaining a nation. That it can be someone who not only looks like us, but has a complex story and a diplomatic outlook, and has the vision to see beyond black and white. This is not the moment to stop taking actions or protesting either…we now have a president who came out on the side of the Republic Doors and Windows workers when they took over their factory in Chicago demanding fair pay, a president who has a long history with organizing. This is a time for the most visionary organizing and action we’ve ever engaged in, to hold him accountable and drive him to actually realize the change he promised. I have said before that this is the Age of Yes, I still believe that. I also think that in many ways we are moving into the darkness; Obama’s face reflects the weight that he is picking up. Most people alive have never experienced the universal domestic financial instability we’re heading into, and we are in several international tangles which will be hard to reconcile. There is a massive amount of work to be done, so the energy that is exploding worldwide right now, that energy needs to be applied to cleaning house, and joyfully redefining darkness to be grounding, safe, womblike; in the darkness we can be less aware of each other’s differences, and have to trust each other more to move through it. That is to say – we are the change. We are the rituals, the commitment, the heightened security, the dreams realized, the cynic’s chuckle and the believer’s screams of joy, yes. But more importantly, we are the every day bearers of vision and change and better ways of being in community with each other. Let our anticipation not just be that of observers. We all walk into that White House today with Barack and Michelle and Malia and Sasha. After somewhere between 8 and 400 years screaming at the gates – we have all been invited.
By Adrienne Maree Brown Jan 20, 2009