How sweet it sounds to now refer to Senator Barack Obama as President-elect Obama! This election means so much! It means that economics trumped race. He was judged on the quality of his intellect, on his steadiness in overcoming obstacles, his thoughtfulness in addressing issues, and his ability to make people understand the absolute importance of this election.
Granted this means a lot to African Americans who understood the historic significance of this election and because of that were willing to stand in lines for hours to make their votes count. Barack Obama lost the State of Mississippi to John McCain; yet, at the Obama party in Mississippi the attendees were dancing, singing, clapping and shouting with joy because the rest of the country picked up the slack and got Barack Obama elected. As President-elect said on election night and all through the campaign, this election is not just about him, it is most importantly about us, the American people.
We know the issues that the next President has to tackle. The problems are enormous, the challenges overwhelming; but this is the time, the place, the moment in history that Barack Obama was put here for. So, what do we do in this moment in time. We worked hard, we walked precincts, made telephone calls for our candidate–and a large turnout was the result of our efforts. So now what! I think we carry on with a new sense of community involvement, a new sense of urgency to right the wrongs in our local communities, and that we make sure our state and local officials fulfill the promise of equal opportunity and social justice for all of the citizens of this great country. In essence, we now must take responsibility and take our communities back. We must fight the violence in our communities, make sure that our children receive a quality education, as parents we must never be too busy to be with our children and help them with their life lessons. This must be our mission.
The joyousness and camaraderie found among the people standing in lines to vote was so apparent. How great it would be if we could continue to respect each other, help each other, and work together to make our communities a better place to live. In the words of President-elect Obama, "Yes We Can."
Willis Edwards is a Community Activist and Board Member NAACP National Board Member.