By Christopher Anderson
When you get married, you become a spouse. When you have children, you become a family. When you have a vision, you become inspired. That’s when dreams become a reality. It is a relationship between cause and effect.
Dr. Martin Luther King had a dream, which many are saying is starting to be fulfilled in the person of President Barack Obama. Although the Inauguration appeared the same as many other prior events, this one was the first of its kind. The FBI had to use four times more resources for security, and 58 federal, state and local agencies provided secret service. Perhaps the need for additional protection was because not everyone has learned that a man is not to be “judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”
The Inauguration affected each generation differently. I asked my grandmother why the Inauguration meant so much to her. She said she never thought she would see this happen in her lifetime. She told me about how my grandfather was a volunteer for [African-American Civil Rights activist] Medgar Evers from 1955 to 1957 while he was in high school and how he would go to his house during secret meetings. She told me about meeting Dr. Martin Luther King in 1961 on the privately funded campus of Tougaloo College where she studied education and how he visited the campus every time he was in Jackson, Mississippi. She told me about how the students at Jackson State would sneak over to her campus at night to prepare for rallies but not participate because they attended a state-funded college and were afraid they would be suspended.
She told me about how 22 groups of students were organized to sit in at the lunch counter at F.W. Woolworth. Each group of 20 to 25 students would peacefully enter the store and sit at the counter. They would wait for a waiter or waitress to offer to take their order. They would be told to go to the back counter, but they would not move. The waiter or waitress would tell them “we don’t serve coloreds here” and the police would be called, the students arrested and the next group would then take their position. After Group 19, the jails were full and the students had to be released because there was no room for Group 20. My grandmother was in Group 21.
She told me about swim-ins, the sit-in method used for the swimming pools. She said Mississippi has come a long way, but has a long way to go. “I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.”
I could have written about the Inauguration attendees and performers, how Justice John G. Roberts Jr. misquoted the oath or what seems to be the talk of the town– if the First Lady made the right fashion choices, but that is not what I feel was the most important.
What is important is what President Barack Obama represents. He is a by-product, a result of another action, both intended and foreseen. The actions of those who have fought to bring change in the communities in which they lived and worked. Those who have provided the stepping stones for him to participate in the election process, win and take the oath to become the 44th President of the United States of America.
So when a group of people take a stand, a dream becomes a reality. It truly is a relationship between cause and effect, no matter how much time it takes.
Remember, “It only takes one to make a difference!”