Magazine Online    The Authority On African-American Conventions, Incentives, & Leisure Travel
Issue: December 2008/January 2009
Yes We Can - Yes We Did!
By: Solomon J. Herbert

When Barack Obama was elected the 44th president of the United States on November 4th, 2008, it was a joyous occasion that few in the African-American community ever thought they would experience in their lifetime. This life-changing event has generated enthusiastic and emotional responses from across the nation, and throughout the world. Here are just a few samples of the comments, praise and words of hope.

An Open Letter to from Alice Walker to Barack Obama on expectations, responsibilities and a new reality that is almost more than the heart can bear.

Dear Brother Obama,

You have no idea, really, of how profound this moment is for us. Us being the Black people of the Southern United States. You think you know, because you are thoughtful, and you have studied our history. But seeing you deliver the torch so many others before you carried, year after year, decade after decade, century after century, only to be struck down before igniting the flame of justice and of law, is almost more than the heart can bear. And yet, this observation is not intended to burden you, for you are of a different time, and, indeed, because of all the relay runners before you, North America is a different place. It is really only to say: Well done. We knew, through all the generations, that you were with us, in us, the best of the spirit of Africa and of the Americas. Knowing this, that you would actually appear, someday, was part of our strength. Seeing you take your rightful place, based solely on your wisdom, stamina and character, is a balm for the weary warriors of hope, previously only sung about.

I would advise you to remember that you did not create the disaster that the world is experiencing, and you alone are not responsible for bringing the world back to balance. A primary responsibility that you do have, however, is to cultivate happiness in your own life. To make a schedule that permits sufficient time of rest and play with your gorgeous wife and lovely daughters. And so on. One gathers that your family is large. We are used to seeing men in the White House soon become juiceless and as white-haired as the building; we notice their wives and children looking strained and stressed. They soon have smiles so lacking in joy that they remind us of scissors. This is no way to lead. Nor does your family deserve this fate. One way of thinking about all this is: It is so bad now that there is no excuse not to relax. From your happy, relaxed state, you can model real success, which is all that so many people in the world really want. They may buy endless cars and houses and furs and gobble up all the attention and space they can manage, or barely manage, but this is because it is not yet clear to them that success is truly an inside job. That it is within the reach of almost everyone.

I would further advise you not to take on other people's enemies. Most damage that others do to us is out of fear, humiliation and pain. Those feelings occur in all of us, not just in those of us who profess a certain religious or racial devotion. We must learn actually not to have enemies, but only confused adversaries who are ourselves in disguise. It is understood by all that you are commander in chief of the United States and are sworn to protect our beloved country; this we understand, completely. However, as my mother used to say, quoting a Bible with which I often fought, "hate the sin, but love the sinner." There must be no more crushing of whole communities, no more torture, no more dehumanizing as a means of ruling a people's spirit. This has already happened to people of color, poor people, women, children. We see where this leads, where it has led.

A good model of how to "work with the enemy" internally is presented by the Dalai Lama, in his endless caretaking of his soul as he confronts the Chinese government that invaded Tibet. Because, finally, it is the soul that must be preserved, if one is to remain a credible leader. All else might be lost; but when the soul dies, the connection to earth, to peoples, to animals, to rivers, to mountain ranges, purple and majestic, also dies. And your smile, with which we watch you do gracious battle with unjust characterizations, distortions and lies, is that expression of healthy self-worth, spirit and soul, that, kept happy and free and relaxed, can find an answering smile in all of us, lighting our way, and brightening the world.

We are the ones we have been waiting for.

In Peace and Joy,

Alice Walker

The Kenya Tourist Board Congratulates the United States on Historic Presidential Vote

The Kenya Tourist Board would like to congratulate the United States on its historic vote November 4th, 2008 as it voted in President Elect, Barack Obama, and Vice President Elect, Joe Biden.?? Kenya is proud to have borne one of America's most historic figures in recent times as the United States votes in its first African-American as President.?? Congratulations U.S.A.! We look forward to seeing you soon!??

The Kenya Tourist Board

Unity Reacts To Historic Election

A new era has begun in how we view race in America.

It can never again be said that a person of color cannot become president of the United States. The election of Sen. Barack Obama to the nation's highest office changes that conversation once and for all.

We at UNITY: Journalists of Color recognize the significance of the presidential election outcome and what it holds for diversity in America. As Americans, we have taken a major step toward a post-racial society, one in which our differences complement each other rather than divide us. But we are not there yet. And as journalists of color, we face a real struggle for diversity in America's newsrooms, where we are still underrepresented and misrepresented.

With our country now taking new steps toward diversity and change, it is essential that our nation's newsrooms move toward parity and equality in the newsroom with the same fervor. As such, our task has not ended. The national dialogue about race will continue, and as journalists of color, we will continue to be an integral part of it.

Statement by Dwayne Ashley, CEO of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund

Today marks an extraordinarily historic day for the nation and the world with the election of Senator Barack Obama, the first African-American President of the United States of America. Â How fitting a time during the centennial birth year of Justice Thurgood Marshall, who was one of the most profound legal strategists and civil rights leaders of all time. Justice Marshall's dedication to equality for all mankind made it possible for Barack Obama to achieve his dreams.

Justice Marshall once said, "Anyone can give up; it's the easiest thing in the world to do. But to hold it together when everyone else would understand if you fell apart, that's true strength." President-Elect Barack Obama has demonstrated incredible strength and resilience throughout the duration of his candidacy.

His commitment to dramatically improving public education and supporting legislation to better finance and support Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) is in keeping with Justice Marshall's uncompromising dedication to educational equality. We look forward to working with his administration to educate and invest in the production of a new generation of world leaders.

President-Elect Barack Obama and his wife, First Lady, Michelle Obama, serve as role models for all youth across the country. Together, they represent the power of education.

On behalf of the entire Thurgood Marshall College Family, Board of Directors, public HBCUs and students, we salute President-Elect Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama on their achievements. "President-Elect Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama's preparation exemplify what determination can accomplish," said Dr. N. Joyce Payne, Founder of Thurgood Marshall College Fund. "Their leadership and commitment to fostering change for the betterment of all mankind is noble."

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