In 2008, I was a senior in high school who would skip class to attend an Obama rally, and while some would probably look down on me for doing so, it is still a moment that I am proud of. Obama made me believe that though I was an African American woman – that didn’t define the trajectory of my life. His YES WE CAN attitude has kept me going, even in moments when I felt society was against me. He gave me hope – hope that this country was an amazing place; hope that I could achieve my wildest dreams; and hope that love could help people become the best version of themselves.
So, as we reach the final hours of having President Obama as our acting president, it is important that we reflect on all he has meant to so many people:
“To me, President Obama almost perfectly epitomizes my experience as a black woman trying to succeed. In any capacity, from having to work twice as hard as white counterparts who are competing for spots in grad or law school; to fighting to be taken seriously by male classmates in both my STEM and political science classes. President Obama ran a spotless campaign and presidency, in my opinion, in addition to maintaining what seems to be a healthy relationship with his family. He will be missed dearly not just because he was the first black president, but because his presence and integrity transcends the box of color many have tried to confine him to.” -DaNia Henry, Student at Oakwood University.
“Without knowing it, Barack Obama empowered a new generation of you people of color – people who have never participated in the political process or civic life. He appointed young fresh perspectives to his administration and armed many leaders of color throughout the country with a shared agenda with the highest office in the land. He will truly be missed.” -Nicole Brisbane, New York State Director, Democrats for Education Reform
“President Obama was the first president I voted for, and I remember running down the streets screaming with friends on his first election night in 2008. I’ve always appreciated his ability to say exactly what we need to hear, especially during times of national tragedy, like the many mass shootings during his presidency. His compassion, composure and thoughtfulness – and his quiet anger when necessary – blow me away. I’m really going to miss having a president who really seems to listen and know what the country needs at incredibly difficult times. I’m also going to miss having a president who also likes Politics and Prose!” -Meghan Faulkner, Digital Manager, Every Voice
“As a young girl who grew up in a not-so-far-away country, I was always intrigued by the influence the U.S. had around the world. Once in college (and when that interest had already pulled me to study International Relations), I was sitting in class watching the last Obama/Romney debate in 2012, when, thanks to his passion, I decided I had to jump into American Politics. I became a citizen right at the time when a young adult woman starts figuring out how she´s going to make an impact. And not only did President Obama provide me with the perfect role model for putting your talents into the service of others, he also proved to be a feminist ally – and thanks him – I feel ready to take on the fight for the American people from whatever trench I am blessed to fight from. I am not scared. I am fired up, ready to go. Thanks, Obama!” -Andrea Terroba
“So many feelings on inauguration eve. 8 years ago I was standing in line for the inaugural parade, a fairly new resident of DC and bustling with excitement for what was possible for our communities and country. I have so appreciated the leadership of our President Obama, his visionary words that inspired the best in us, his steady hand, thoughtful approach and even when I disagreed with him and wish he pushed harder – I never questioned his values or whether he cared about all people. Tomorrow, a new President will take office and the feelings with me are the exact opposite. Fight or flight, defend, stand up, speak up, expose the truth. This man is not for us, he never was – he’s only been for two things: Money and Power. What a place we find ourselves in. Its imperative now more than ever that we lead with love and nothing less, or we may find ourselves in the same place of our enemies. Yes, President Obama, I too have faith in the American people – in our compassion, in our generosity, in our ability to grow and change. That’s the legacy you’ve left with me, the legacy of never giving up faith in humanity.” – Rahna Epting, Chief of Staff, Every Voice