During my flight to Denver today, I had a lot of time to think about the enormous magnitude of this week’s event.
As I’ve mentioned in past blogs, I grew up in a neighborhood with older citizens --most of whom were grandchildren of slaves. As the Old Negro proverb says, “it takes a village to raise a child,” well the entire neighborhood influenced my upbringing. As I think about my pilgrimage to Denver, I can’t help but think of all of them. I sat on their porches frequently and listen to stories of the past. Most of whom had big dreams that they were never able to see come to fruition. I would always ask why? As I think back, no one ever mentioned the lack of opportunities because of race, though.
In contrast, my life has been very different than they could have dreamed for me. As I watched Ted Kennedy speak last night, I began to marvel at the past and began to look at the possibilities. I met Senator Kennedy about 2 years ago. At the moment my hand met his, the tears began to swell inside. I could hardly contain them. In that one instance, I flashed back to my hometown and my old neighbors. My grandparents and neighbors had a photo of President John F. Kennedy in their living rooms. He embodied the hope that they carried in the 60s. I realized that my hand was grasped in the history of the Kennedys. The emotions began to flow. Keep in mind, I don’t normally excite easily. I worshipped weekly with Coretta Scott King when I lived in Atlanta; I’ve dined with professional athletes like Hakeem Olajuwon; hung out with music & movie shakers; I was 1 of 50 attendees at a function at Senator Clinton’s home; but that kind of stuff does not phase me. There is something special about the Kennedy legacy that grabs me, as well as, most Americans as a whole.
As I said earlier, President Kennedy embodied HOPE -- the hope of a new nation, the possibility of civil and voting rights. Here I am over 40 years later in Denver, Colorado to watch Senator Barack Obama accept the Democratic Nomination for President of the United States. This is a defining moment in American History. Even though, African-Americans have made tremendous strides in this period of time, just a year ago this still was not imaginable. So, watching Senator Kennedy brought this full circle. His appearance and endorsement at the convention says that crossing this bridge takes us all to another place and chapter in history. That is why I am in Denver!