Dear THINX Community,
I became an American just in time to cast my vote for the 2008 election for the young, hopeful Barack Obama. My half-Japanese, half-Indian, Canadian born roots were never really political (‘cuz #Cananda and we chill AF) but I still understood the impact that an Obama presidency would have on the world. A half-black man with the last name Obama, and a middle name Hussein, could be elected as the most powerful man on earth? It would be a miracle, and a massive step in the right direction. A true democratic moment in history.
I decided to spend the 2008 election day in Harlem, sitting next to two lovely, older black women in a room full of multicultural and multi-aged folks, and as it became more and more clear that Obama was going to ride the victory train, these women began to weep. They wept because they could not believe that in their lifetime, after experiencing segregation and intense racism, they lived to experience a black man rising to the top, to sit in the White House.
As I ran outside in Harlem with tears streaming down my face after hearing these two women’s life stories, cars honked and every color of the human rainbow cheered and high fived. It was one of my favorite nights in my New York history.
I went to President Obama’s first Inauguration on Jan 20, 2009 and it was truly a moment to remember. It was cold and I stood next to the Washington Monument and drank tea as waves of cheers flooded the entire city. I thought about the history of the White House, who had come and gone through that building and it was amazing to think about all of the new people of color who saw a new dream enter the realm of possibility.
This year, we *almost* saw a new inflection point in history. I dreamed of having a similar experience at today’s Inauguration with more goose bumps all over my body, more high fives and hugging, another “first” for America. We came so close with Aunt Hill and I am so proud of how she fought and fought till the very end and still had enough poise to take the loss, even if she won the popular vote by millions (just sayin’!).
But to me, she still won. For girls everywhere. For what it means to fight and fight for what you believe in, even with so many people fighting against you, including the long standing Patriarchy. Girls growing up could now know that becoming President is not a far fetched idea anymore.
I’ve had several conversations with Aunt Hill over the years and one thing she said always stuck: “I’m a public servant. I’ve always been good at the servant part, but never good at the public part.” She might have been stiff in public but she was warm, kind, brilliant and caring in private. Her lifetime has been filled with one glass ceiling broken after the next through her efforts and those cannot be disputed.
For me, this inauguration has put an even more profound fire under my butt to keep pushing for human rights, for women’s rights and to use innovative ways to get there. I am proud that women will be marching all over the country to support one another and to ensure that we push forward for true equality.
As Hillary said:
In blood we trust,Miki Agrawal