Just over a week ago, I was at the Inaugural Parade. I was so honored to be able to attend a ‘parade party’ at the offices of King & Spalding, a large, international law firm, who has offices on the parade route.
I watched the Presidential Inauguration with excitement on a big screen TV, and then waited for the parade to pass outside the window.
The excitement was palpable, and when the President and the First Lady walked by, the crowd was screaming and waving and taking pictures. I heard someone say the President was a “rock star” and that was certainly the kind of treatment he got.
Part of what made the inauguration so exciting to me was the presence of Latinidad throughout. There was Spanish used in the bendición, the first Latino (and gay) poet read a poem urging unity and understanding, and the President solidly referenced immigration reform in his remarks.
The inaugural speech addressed some of our most vulnerable communities — not just Latinos – which was important to me, since in my opinion it is the job of our nation’s leaders to protect those groups and advocate for them. The issues raised in the speech covered everything from gun violence, equal pay for women, support after national disasters, gay marriage, and so on.
Latinos were a key force in putting the President in the White House, and he has responded to our issues. This week, the President has sent a clear message that comprehensive immigration reform is top on his agenda, and has outlined the issues he believes need to be included.
While a number of folks spoke about the fact that this inauguration was not as large as the last one, it was still the second largest inauguration (in terms of audience numbers) in our country’s history.
And for me, it was an amazing moment, and one I will never forget! It was important for me to get to share my excitement with others who were likewise excited, at a moment when it feels like real political leverage may be exercised to address the issues that I personally feel are so important.
And those issues are much wider and deeper than could have possibly been addressed in a speech. Moreover, the issues that face our country are not those we can leave simply to our leaders – they are issues that we as individuals have to advocate for daily.
I recognize that leaders are not perfect (more on that in upcoming posts), and it’s not fair to expect them to be so. It was, however, a time to celebrate, to express joy, and to renew our hope that our voices do matter, that issues can be resolved, and that outcomes can be positive.
How did you spend Inauguration day? Did you celebrate? What issues are of most import to you?