Reflection on the Outcome of the 2008 Election

Tuesday, Nov. 4, is a day that I will remember forever. I jumped out of my seat in Howard University’s Blackburn Ballroom, along with a number of other students and faculty shouting with joy as we looked to the screen to see that Obama had won another state. Iowa! Students performed original pieces of inspirational poetry, danced to the upbeat music and chanted “Obama!” as our hearts continued to beat faster and faster as the clock ticked.

Throughout the night, I made eye contact with a few of my schoolmates, connecting through our tears of joy. Suddenly, a new update popped onto the screen around 11:00 p.m. I tried hard to see what CNN was revealing, but I simply could not see above the other anxious students standing tall on the chairs in front of me.

The room instantly transformed into an even more exuberant place with ecstatic individuals overcome with happiness, shouting, yelling and crying. Though I had not yet seen what was on the screen, I too began to shout. As the yells grew louder, and the tears grew stronger, I suddenly knew what the screen read.

I looked deep into the eyes of my friend and I could see her mouth moving but I could not make out the words. However, it did not matter, I felt her energy and with that I knew my president was black. I glared at the screen and saw the words “Barack Obama Elected President.”

I became almost static for a few seconds, while a million things ran through my head. I thought about all that my black people had been through and worked hard for and then suddenly launched off of my feet and jumped around the room hugging the people near me. Being such a calm person, I do not think that I had ever celebrated in that manner before. I was elated!

My eyes continued to pour with tears as I stood proud, looking up to the ceiling, thanking God. I was happy to glance at my phone to find voice mails and text messages of excited friends and family members in California, where it was only 8 p.m. I linked arms with those around me to sing “We Shall Overcome” and we raised our fists to “Lift Every Voice and Sing” and then heard the powerful words given by the great Howard Afro-American Studies Assistant Professor Greg Carr and a prayer delivered by a Howard student.

As I laughed, cried, smiled and took pictures, R&B singer Ryan Leslie put on an upbeat performance, which coincided with the joyful mood. I walked out of the room with red eyes, hugging individuals, making phone calls and sending messages to my loved ones. I was so proud of Barack Obama and felt truly blessed to be a part of this beautiful, historical day at Howard University.

Yes we can!