Four years ago today I stood in our Harlem apartment and watched CNN’s election center tally Ohio’s votes. The swing state held the nation’s answer to who would be president. As Wolf Blitzer called the state and shaded it blue, I began cheering and celebrating that truly epic moment. As CNN went to commercial, I could still hear cheering, and opened the window to hear the screams, shouts and hurrah’s of the entire neighborhood. I wasn’t the only person jumping, crying and giddy about the momentous announcement that Barack Obama would soon become the first African-American President of the United States of America. Harlem’s air was filled the unanimous chorus of relief and victory.
My tear shed broke when I saw the Rev. Jesse Jackson’s tear’s flowing on the mall in Chicago’s Grant Park. His eyes seemed to tell the story of the triumph and pride that I shared and yet as equally, a pain that I don’t know. In that moment, I was engulfed by a community filled with a history of the black American, and as I rode the elevator downstairs to join the impromptu party beginning on the streets, I felt so honored and blessed to celebrate the day where I was. I was in the middle of a cultural landmark that remains home to the Apollo, Abyssinian Baptist Church, and many places that witnessed injustice and stamped our hearts with respect for Harlem. As the elevator doors opened, I joined the doorman, strangers and supporters hugging and dancing in the streets of New York. What a place to be.