Reflection from the 59th Inauguration (1/21/2021)

The time is currently 11:39 am as I type this. It’s been officially an entire 24 hours since I and the world got to see history in the making at the 59th Inauguration of the United States. This time yesterday, millions of people watched in excitement, wonder, and understandable relief as President Elect-Joe Biden and Vice President Elect-Kamala Harris became the official President and vice president of the United States.

Yesterday morning, I woke up with a mix of emotions. I couldn’t quite pinpoint which emotion stood out the most but, I can say that all of the feelings were pleasant. Witnessing such a moment at this point in my life, I must say that it was a powerful occasion. As a millennial, I have had the honor and opportunity to have been a part of the changing demographics in politics over the last few years. The first time I ever got to vote in the national election was for former President Barack Obama’s election.

During and after his term, I witnessed women, men, and people of color take and hold offices that were once only imagined positions. And then, history took a turn during the last administration. I watched, not in total shock but disappointment and concern at the antics and rhetoric that became a battle cry around the nation for people that felt disenfranchised by the diversification of the past few years.

However, despite the near desensitization towards all things passed, implemented, and announced during the last four years, I felt relieved to know that some sense of normalcy was returning. Even as the pandemic has raged on and the vaccine distribution has not gone as planned, I can feel the shift in the air. I also can say that yesterday, I was proud to be a woman in America, especially a black woman. For the first time in over 230 years, a woman became the United States Vice President. A woman of color. A woman from a Divine Nine organization known as Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated. An organization that I also share the distinction of being a member of. A woman who also attended an HBCU.

Many things changed yesterday, from the diversity represented on the platform by the President and Vice President’s respective families and friends to the weather shift that occurred over the broadcast from dreary skies to sunshine. Yesterday, indeed, marked a new beginning in America. It was as if America was having a grand re-opening for not only its citizens but for patrons across the world. And let me not forget the history made with the youngest poet laureate to ever speak at an inauguration was a woman of color—so much inspiration. So much promise, hope, and reflection weaved in the words of Amanda Gorman’s poem The Hill We Climb.

And in many ways, it served as a marker of where we as a nation stand today. It also could be viewed as a pact to “do better” during this administration. Are the problems of the last four years going to go away in four additional years? No. It’s dangerously naive to think that it would. It may very well be decades before some of those issues are absolved because they stretched beyond the lines of executive orders, walls, and laws. It also held an attitude that many, 74,223,744 to be exact, believed and resonated with for either personal reasons or political loyalty.

However, on January 20, 2021, America swore in its 46th President and 49th Vice President hoping that a new era of fairness, freedom of expression, and peace could be restored. For years to come, I will enjoy getting the opportunity to witness to my daughter how now, nothing is impossible. Before, the words seemed like a hopeful dream with the occasional promise of an unexpected outcome. But now, I believe it. I witnessed it. It re-inspired me. And I look forward to participating in and contributing to whatever causes locally and nationally I can to continue making this new reality a perpetual one. As recent history has shown us, we may stumble, but we won’t fold.