Like everyone else, I remember exactly where I was on the night of the 2008 presidential elections...at my Chicago apartment envious of everyone down at Grant Park.
You see, it was my first ever election.
In 2004 I had just become a U.S. citizen, but I was too young to vote by just three months.
But 2008 was a different story! I went and voted with my mom and even though I was very excited and wanted to be a part of all the Chicago celebrations downtown, I was still a lazy college student and had put off my final speech for my public speaking class (which was worth a majority of my grade).
I can still remember the excitement and staying up late to hear the results. When it was announced that Obama was indeed our new president, I worked it into my final speech (topic was the oppression of Burma and the need for change-so fitting).
Everything felt so different, new, hopeful, exciting at the time. 2012 just...didn't.
I never felt a build-up, or giant push to mobilize the masses. Maybe because I'm from Chicago and we're traditionally thought of as a blue state, but in 2008 I could feel the sleeping giant of a nation who needed a change, awaken.
2012 felt more like the 2008-college student that I was, scrambling at the last minute to accomplish something spectacular on limited time.
I want to feel like that again. I want to have hope and believe progress and change will come.
And have no doubt, President Obama has created change.
Not just with healthcare, education, same-sex marriage but simply by being the man that he is.
As a minority raised by a single-mother, I can tell you that makes all the difference in the world. You can hear 'you can be whatever you want be' so many times but you know when I'm going to believe you? When I see an example of it.
We will probably never truly know how many lives young lives he his presidency has affected. How can we? How will we ever be able to measure the amount of kids who didn't grow up to be teen moms, drug dealers, gang-members, etc. because they knew life had more to offer them, regardless of the card they were dealt, after seeing his example?
If Obama has taught us one thing, it's that anything is possible. If this mixed-man with no family name or money to lean on can make it to the top of the U.S. government then there is no reason or excuse we all can't set out to do what our hearts desire.
So Barry, I get you and I have your back. I too once asked people to address me by middle name because I was embarrassed of the ethnic X. I now wear it with pride and I am thankful for you showing me that no dream is unattainable.