At 12:01 PM on January 20, 2017, President Barack Obama will no longer be President of the United States. While Mr. Obama was only President for eight years, his impact on America will last forever. President Obama rescued the United States economy from collapse, saved the American auto industry, ordered the killing of 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden and provided millions of Americans with affordable health insurance. In the days, months and years ahead there will be many pieces written on Obama’s legacy, but I would like to take a minute to say what President Obama meant to me.
I first heard the name Barack Obama in early 2004, and the name stuck with me only because he was an African-American running for the United States Senate - then the 2004 Democratic Convention happened and like most Americans I was captivated by Obama's oratory skills.
So, in 2007 when Obama announced he was running for President I became an early supporter. I was selected as an Obama Fellow in 2008 and worked to help elect Barack Obama President. I cannot express in words what election night 2008 meant to me – I was happy, excited, anxious and hopeful. I was honored to witness the election of the first African-American President and for the last eight years I had his back. I was overjoyed when he signed the Affordable Care Act; I was furious at the obstruction he faced; I celebrated when he announced the death of Osama bin Laden and felt like black lives mattered when he said, “If I had a son he'd looked like Trayvon”.
Through the ups and downs of his presidency I never stopped believing in President Obama or his vision for America. For eight years, Obama embodied dignity and a quiet strength – a faithful husband and loving father. I am not sure if I will ever have the opportunity to see another African-American elected President, but I know because of President Obama there is a young African-American child growing up that believes he/she can become President and we as a people didn’t have that kind of hope before. Hope; that is what President Obama is leaving us with and I’m hopeful now just as I was when he was first elected back in 2008 that our best days lie ahead. Thanks Obama!