Friday, January 23, 2009

Thoughts From Inauguration

From all corners of the globe this week people came together to celebrate much more than a man. They came together to embrace a new ideal of how we can all work together to create a more perfect union.

While it goes without saying that I, like many around the world, was caught up in the inauguration of the first black president in our nation's history, there was a story this week that went largely unnoticed. Though the pomp and circumstance of Tuesday's swearing-in was truly breathtaking, what I will actually leave here remembering most is Monday, the day before the swearing-in.

Fittingly, on Martin Luther King Jr. day, rather than simply reflecting on the moment, President Obama called on all of us to make this a day of action. Not to simply enjoy change, but to go make it ourselves.

I watched as high school students from across the nation joined together at the National Armory to fill bags of food for the needy. I saw people looking to extend a hand in giving, not asking. For this one day, we weren't 50 states; we were truly the United States.

As President Obama noted, our generation faces challenges that may be unprecedented. These problems will not be faced alone, nor will they be conquered without shared sacrifice.

Whether your contribution to society is big or small, tangible or a gift of the heart, each one of us must now take it upon ourselves to be responsible for all of us.

As I return to Chicago I can hardly contain my joy and my optimism.

I hope that you are similarly inspired.

I would love it if some of you would join me in telling what this week has meant to you.


Anonymous said...

Dear Alderman Jackson: I grew up in Pittsburgh, PA with a strong and politically savvy family that made certain we as children were aware of what was going on around us. They all wanted to see a Black president someday and it wasn't just talk. My uncle was groomed to run for political office by becoming the school treasurer. When the white people found out he wanted to go higher,they mounted an attack against the family and ended his dreams, this was an even more profound campaign for me. This particular week, I chose to stay at home because I couldn't stop crying for all of them:all my relatives; all the people I saw when down South marching in Selma, Birmingham and Montgomery who have since passed on. I wanted to watch for them, cry for joy for them. What was the most defining and spectacular moment for me was when Aretha Franklin dressed in her beautiful matching hat and coat lifted herself up straightened herself and that gorgeous hat and movingly sang 'My Country Tis of Thee', the same song that the DAR would not let Marion Anderson sing at Carnegie Hall in 1939; the same song Marion sang on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in 1939 and again in 1963 at the March on Washington.A song school children like me could not sing because we were Negroes and that was one of 7 songs we couldn't sing. The 2nd moment was when Dr. Lowery prayed the 3rd stanza of the Negro Natl Anthem and finished with Roy's poem. Then to see Pres. and Mrs.Obama walk down Pennsylvania Ave as the Executive couple and finally to end the night dancing and so in love to Beyonce's rendition of 'At Last". I'm still vibrating from the power of this special week. It's like being at the Red Sea and watching it being parted so we can cross on dry land. To see the power of the GOD we serve in action. I pray we don't get lost in the wilderness;
that we pay attention and do as told, get involved and work to make this country a more perfect union.
Jaki White
7th Ward Constituient

Stew said...

Honorable Ms Jackson:

I am similarly touched by7 the air of enthusiasm that seems to grip the people during this historic time...I hope that we who are the authors of this chapter in history can continue to capitalize on this moment by understanding that the work is just beginning; We must all be owners of the process!

Thank you for your insight and news!

Spencer Taylor said...

It is a great day in my life, growing up in the Evergreen (Alabama) area, life were different for your father and myself when we young here in Conecuh County, Alabama. A lots of people talked about life in the south, but we had to lived it. So it is what we worked for. Now we must get behind our President and do what we must do to make this a better Country. Let this be a jumping off point to make our communities better. Spencer Taylor, The Taylor Nation,Evergreen, Alabama

Ernesta Walker said...

First let me expess my sincere gratitute to you for assisting me in attending the Congressional chat attended by Jessie Jackson Jr. during a recent visit to Rochester, New York. Thank you.
I watched the inauguration with my third grade students. Tears were streaming down my face one of my young male princes said, "Miss Walker why are you crying?" I explained to him that they were tears of joy. We cheered as he took the oath.It was unfortunate that many of the white teachers choose not to come into the gym even though the school is predominately african american. This is what I mean when I say they have no respect for our children their history or their legacy.

kenneth said...

All I want is Sandi and Jesse jr. to remember the media no longer rules the people,so what ever is said about either of you,that is negative or defaming,know that we can see right through it,and are not influenced by these attempts to destroy our time,which has come,Rev jackson's words were ahead and on time,and not in vain. The proof that we dont listen to our enemies of change,look who is in the white house,they tried everything but failed. Keep up the good work,more success to come for you guys!

Faith said...

I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to have been in Washington, DC to witness and experience many of the wonderful events which occurred during the week of the inauguration. From the Opening Ceremony to hearing President Obama share his heart with the multitude of people, who had joyfully and peacefully gathered as far as the eye, could see; we quietly listened and deliberately hung on each of his awe inspiring words; how magnetic it was for us all. His words were of encouragement, hope, inspiration, motivation and service.

The atmosphere was electric and I cannot recall ever being in an environment with so many people where everyone was so pleasant. I met and saw people from literally all over the world! We were all smiling, cheering, taking pictures and videos. No one wanted to miss a single moment of the festivities. I'm sure we all wanted to be able to share it with the many special folks who were not able to make it to DC.

I was especially touched, after the Opening Ceremony was over and we were leaving the Lincoln Memorial; it was the comment of a total stranger that pricked my heart. I pondered the comment of this Latina grandmother (I presume), who stood barely over 4 feet and she was walking with her arm around her granddaughter (I gather), I heard her say to the child "This is why this is such a wonderful country; you see, there are so many opportunities here. It gives me hope." Of course we all know that this is truth, but once in awhile we need a gentle reminder.

As we stood at the Capitol the day of the Inauguration, we had gotten there early and had plenty of time to mingle and get acquainted with those around us. I spoke with a couple from England who had been living in the US for many years and now expressed their desire to become US citizens. They had been so taken with the President Elect and his policies.

I was enamored as I watched and listened to President Obama as he was full of grace and wisdom especially when interacting with President Bush and his wife. It was truly the mark of a great leader and diplomat.

I cannot adequately put into words what it means to me as a human being to have a First Family in the White House that looks like and reminds me of my own family! It is another blessing; I'll always be in awe over it! I'm still living in the moment; I can hardly catch my breath.

I know too that my 14-year old son who stood by his dad and me on that Inauguration day will really know and believe now, when we tell him, that he can do and be anything he desires to with hard work and dedication; he now has a wonderful frame of reference. No more make believe or pretending. Wow!

I commit to serve more and worry less, to do more and not feel distressed or hopeless, because I know that God has heard and answered my prayers regardless!

I charge everyone to always pray for our President, his beautiful family and cabinet because our prayers our limitless. Amen.