Guest essays: Obama victory spreads hope among local black youthEditor's Note: The following essays were provided by the Boys & Girls Club of the Peninsula. The writers attend the Menlo Park club as well as the Center for a New Generation.
Obama's achievement will open doors for blacks
Barack Obama's inauguration makes me believe that anything can happen.
Even though I am young, I have always thought I've had a pretty good understanding of the way the world works. I always hoped there would someday be an African American president, but I never believed it would happen so soon. I think that Mr. Obama's inauguration will open many doors for young black males like me because people will have higher expectations for us.
I've been lucky to be a part of a program like the Center for a New Generation because it provides me with a number of opportunities. At CNG I can grow socially, academically, and athletically. The best thing about CNG is the fact that it has opened my eyes to academic and career opportunities.
I hope to attend a prep school next year as a ninth-grader and I think Mr. Obama's victory in the presidential election will help me once I get there. Barack Obama has changed people's perception of black males; he is an example of a successful black man who does something besides playing sports or rapping.
I play sports, but I am more than just an athlete. I like to learn and contribute to my community in a number of different ways. I think more people will see me for who I really am now because of what they've seen with Mr. Obama.
Mr. Obama is the kind of role model people need in the United States. He has broken stereotypes in order to become something that very few people believed he could become. I hope that as I move forward with my life I will be able to inspire the next generation the way he has inspired me. We all need to know that we don't have to act a certain way because of our skin color, we just have to be true to ourselves and follow our dreams no matter what they are.
Dae'Von Bishop, 13
Blacks will now be taken more seriously
To me, President-elect Obama's inauguration means hope and change. Mr. Obama is what I have hoped for my whole life.
Growing up, the only time I would ever hear about an African American president was when someone was making a joke. It would really upset me that I lived in a world where no one even thought a black man or woman could be taken seriously.
Mr. Obama's inauguration gives me hope that I will be judged by the content of my character as I continue to get older. It's inspiring for me to see that Mr. Obama did not win because of his race, age, or gender; he won because he's the best person for the job. It makes me proud to be a part of a country where people achieve their goals based on their merit. I know that if I continue to be my best I will be able to reach my goals regardless of racism and prejudice that has existed in the past. Mr. Obama has made me even prouder of my African American heritage.
Many people in my community are excited about the change that will come with Mr. Obama's inauguration as president. He has made so many people proud. It's exciting for me to see people want to make changes in my own community because they witness Mr. Obama preparing to make changes in our nation and world. I believe that a change is coming to my community of East Palo Alto as a result of Mr. Obama's inspirational victory.
Tajianna Robinson, 13
Election inspires blacks to reach higher
My teachers, parents, friends, and mentors have always told me I can be whatever I want in life.
To be honest, I never really believed them. I'm a good student with a 4.0 GPA. I run track and compete in gymnastics, go to the Boys and Girls Club, and am a part of my school's student government. I've even been in commercials and movies. I don't mean to brag, but I pretty much take advantage of all the opportunities that are available to kids in my community of East Palo Alto. That's just who I am, I love trying new things and being my best.
Even though I've done all these things, I've always thought there was a limit to what I could accomplish in my life. I've never thought I could win a Nobel Prize, walk on the moon, or be president. I've wanted to do these things, but I've never truly believed that it was possible.
I've never seen anyone who looks like me accomplish any of these feats. Most of the successful African American people I have seen are celebrities in entertainment and athletics. I still try my hardest because I hope for the best, but I can't really say that I've ever truly believed I can do everything I dream of.
Barack Obama's inauguration means that my teachers, parents, and mentors are right. I really can do anything in life if I set my mind to. There are very few people out there who have broken stereotypes such as the ones African Americans face, but I have always wanted to be in that group of people. I want to be somebody who does something that no one has ever done before. I want to do something like Barack has done.
Mr. Obama's victory has made me believe that just because I have never seen anyone do something, that doesn't mean that I can't do it myself. I can be the first. From watching him, I've learned that I can overcome any obstacles or barriers people try to set for me. Mr. Obama has given me the ability to believe in myself and my dreams. Thank you, Barack.
Micha Auzenne, 13