Liz Cedillo-Pereira is a friend that I met while in Denver covering the Democratic National Convention. Her feelings on why she chose not to go to D.C. are similar to why I decided to stay in Dallas.
While it was very nice to receive an invitation to attend the Inauguration of President Barack Obama, I will not be among the multitudes of North Texans in D.C. for this historic moment. In fact, a few months ago, I promised any windfall such as an invitation to one of my best buddies Kenneth Martin, who did not have the opportunity to attend the Democratic National Convention in Denver like I did.
Arriving early in the morning to get a good seat at Invesco, Liz Cedillo-Pereira waves from the Texas Delegation area at the Democratic National Convention.. Photographer: Janet Morrison.
My inauguration moment occurred in August at Invesco Field in Denver, Colorado as Barack Obama accepted the presidential nomination of his party. This moment which I shared with about 80,000 others was indeed a rare opportunity. I sprinted home to tell my friends and family all about it. That moment at Invesco provided one of those rare feelings of “knowingness.”
Instead of waiting to board the Texas Delegation charter bus, I arrived very early with my friend and blogger, Janet Morrison. As I sat patiently waiting, I enjoyed a “private” concert as Stevie Wonder, Sheryl Crow and Michael McDonald rehearsed.
I witnessed all the special security forces, planners, journalists, take their places and prepare for the monumental occasion. And I prayed, mostly giving thanks for those who fought for the progress we’ve made since Dr. King’s speech that he delivered in Washington D.C. exactly 45 years prior.
I knew that day in my heart and soul that Barack Obama would be our next President. I did not need to wait until November to know, at that moment, I knew. It did not matter that the world could not relish the in the moment with me, for the next day’s news of Sarah Palin drew global attention to Wasilla, Alaska.
I did not necessarily derive my “knowingness” from Obama’s acceptance speech but from the disposition of the crowd who witnessed it. As I sat between an elected official from Dallas, Rafael Anchia, and a retired gentleman from Florida who served as precinct chair near where my mother-in-law lives, I knew Obama was meant to bring disparate voices together even if they did not agree with all of his viewpoints…which brings me to where I will be commemorating the Inauguration.
I will be attending my mother’s own swearing in of sorts as she puts her boxing gloves back on and attends her first chemotherapy session since finding out her multiple myeloma has relapsed. While I won’t be among the cheering crowds, I will have one of the best seats in the house – seated beside the woman who gave me life and inspired me to believe in my own capacity to contribute to the greater good.
When the inauguration is over, we are all responsible for helping President Obama. He has a lot on his plate – a conflict in Gaza, a monsterous economic crisis, closing Guantanamo, wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, formulation of his legislative agenda to create jobs, passage of universal health care coverage, prioritization of education, passage of smart immigration reform, and much more. He cannot do it alone. He needs all of us to take part in the democratic process…whether we are in Dallas, Texas or in Washington, D.C.
Liz Cedillo-Pereira is a partner with Cedillo-Pereira & Cedillo, PLLC who recently helped form the Texas DREAM Act Coalition. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org