Once again, as I stood blubbering, I bemoaned what I had faith I had no right to feel. Regrettably, I would not be able to attend the official observance. The installation of Barack Obama into the Oval Office would be one I would miss. It was true; my yarn could not compare to the composition an elderly man or woman, coal in color, might submit. Some of these individuals never felt their tally counted. For many, it did not; not until the Voters Rights Act 1965 was passed into law. Yes, a request for my narrative could not negate the truth of my tale; it was nothing in contrast to what others might tell. My complexion had always made me more privileged and that is wrong.
To my core I felt and continue to feel if the new Administration offers free transportation and tickets to the event, they should not be given to me.
I had never, through my actions, given up on the country I love. I had no reason to. Granted, I frequently felt there was no hope for my homeland. However, these moments were fleeting. Prejudice did not permeate my very existence. Nor did bigotry shade my second-by-second experience. Every thought I might express was not filtered through a truth I could never forget, for I was not dark as pitch. I did not realize repercussions for nothing more than my race.
I am an activist. My current age does not make my participation worthy of note, at least not in the year 2008, or 2009. I am one of millions. Four or perhaps more will readily appear in the Capital Mall in Washington, District of Columbia. Almost all will reach the destination without assistance from the Obama Administration. Why should I not do the same?
For me, without tickets, which I vigorously tried to obtain through conventional means, I would not truly be part of this momentous occasion. I would be disengaged, detached from the essence that bonds me and helped me to believe. I imagine as one in a crowd of countless, all I would see would be projected onto a screen. I would feel separate, not equal to those more worthy of the honor of an invitation.
Surely, the historic significance would be not be as I hoped. Were I to go, as a one amongst the masses might, I would grapple with what has long haunted me. I would not feel as connected to what means so much to me.
Hence, each time the invitation appeared in my mailbox, the opportunity to pen my prose, to state why this inauguration was so very important to me, I submitted what I knew was not enough, not special, and not unique.
Each time, I did not request what I hoped for, in many ways, more so than accommodations to the services. My dream was not to merely be welcomed to the Capitol. I wanted to find what was, and still is lost to me. The people I think of as parents, biological proxy to me. My desire was the President Elect and his staff might make a personal dream come true. Thus, I engraved and placed into the ethereal Internet for weeks.
Mary [Hazel], Arthur, and sons, Arthur Junior and oh, how I wish I recalled the name of the younger, if you read this, please, please, please, get in touch with me. For as long as I recall, I have, from time to time, searched telephone books, cyberspace communities, asked relatives, sought some clue of where you might be. I wanted, I yearn for you to know what as a five and one half year old I could not, did not know how to share. You, your kindness, commitment to my well-being, the care you bestowed upon me has forever meant more to me than mere words.
I speak of each of you, your family, even when my mouth is closed. Who you are exudes from my every pore. So much of what I think, say, do, feel, and am, at least all that I treasure of me, is with thanks to each of you. Mary, I know my parents rejected what seemed the perfect reason to name me Hazel, your given name, as you requested. Nonetheless, please trust that while you and I may not share a moniker, for me, we share sooooo much more.
I thank you for being my first and best teacher. You are a mentor, one that money cannot buy. If I have any hope in 2009, it is that perchance, one day, you and I will meet. I wish to do more than merely greet you with a smile. Even from afar, I will, as I have, embrace the being that is you, and express my sincere gratitude for the being you helped me to become.
The Washington family, this is my Inauguration Invitation to you. May we begin to bring hope for a renewed future alive.
Hugs, kisses, and references for other realities . . .
- Crossing the railroad tracks amid a new time in history, By Wayne Drash. Cable News Network. January 12, 2009
- Introduction To Federal Voting Rights Laws. United States Department of Justice.
- Can Mall Be Filled For an Inauguration? 4 Million May Try It. By Nikita Stewart and Michael E. Ruane. Washington Post. Tuesday, November 18, 2008; A01